UPDATE: A PREIT spokesperson said the company had nothing to add beyond what was on the transcript, but added that a formal announcement would be coming soon.
How does two award-winning, celebrity chefs at Moorestown Mall sound?
Hot on the heels of the news that construction of Marc Vetri’s Osteria is underway comes more big news regarding the mall’s future as a dining destination: Iron Chef and James Beard award winner Jose Garces will be bringing his brand of Mexican cuisine to Moorestown Mall with the opening of Distrito.
On a quarterly earnings call Wednesday morning, PREIT CEO Joseph Coradino announced that Garces had signed a lease to bring Distrito to the mall, bringing the number of new fine dining restaurants at the mall to three; Osteria and Firebirds Wood Fired Grill have previously been announced, with an anticipated pre-holiday 2013 opening for both.
According to a preliminary transcript of the call, Coradino said, “Alongside Marc Vetri's Osteria, having two acclaimed celebrity chefs opening locations at this suburban Philadelphia mall are serving as a magnet to attract other best of regional retailers to further differentiate the property.”
Garces operates Distrito in three other locations—the original on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, Atlantic City and Scottsdale, AZ—as well as El Jefe, a similarly styled restaurant in Palm Springs, CA, and a Distrito taco truck in Philadelphia. He also has six other restaurants in Philadelphia, including Amada and Tinto, and three more in Atlantic City.
David Wigginton of Discern, who is listed as a research analyst on PREIT’s website, also spoke on the call, referring to unnamed “strong regional retailers” who would be occupying the mall in 2014.
Mayor Stacey Jordan said she was excited at the news and credited PREIT for keeping its word to bring true fine dining restaurants to the mall, a promise the corporation repeatedly made in the lead-up to the referendum in 2011.
"It really makes the mall a destination," she said. "It just shows that Moorestown is a place where people are going to want to come to."
Check back with Moorestown Patch for more information as soon as it becomes available.
To check out Distrito's menu and find out more, visit the restaurant website.