A world-famous chef has temporarily closed an upscale-casual Mexican restaurant in Philadelphia but plans for it to reopen seem to be a bit murky.

Our culinary travels take us to the University City section of town, specifically 40th and Chestnut, not too far from the University of Pennsylvania, where Chef Jose Garces has closed Distrito at least for the next several weeks.

According to a post on the restaurant's Facebook page,

Distrito is closing for the Summer and will return in the Fall. We will see you in the new school year!

However, a published report in The Philadelphia Inquirer doesn't seem to be quite that optimistic.

Distrito in University City, Philadelphia PA - Photo: Google Maps
Distrito in University City, Philadelphia PA - Photo: Google Maps

Garces told writer Michael Kline that the restaurant, "just couldn’t support itself financially" between college kids not being on-campus during the summer and rising food costs.

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The Inquirer report says Garces hopes to reopen in late August but,

We’re definitely reevaluating the business and taking this time to ensure that we have a solid business plan going forward.

Like many other businesses, Garces cites numerous challenges to running a restaurant, including fewer people coming into the city, the lack of employees, and supply chain issues.

Popular place

Distrito enjoyed some rather favorable reviews online. In fact, Money Inc. recently named the restaurant one of the top 10 restaurants for Mexican food in the city. They said,

For casual, flavor-packed street food, make your way to the street-level taqueria. Head upstairs to enjoy small plates of contemporary Mexican cuisine in the colorful, eclectically styled main dining room. If tacos are your scene, stop by to enjoy specials on tacos, super nachos, and margarita pitchers on Taco Tuesday.

Official word

With what was said in The Inquirer article in mind, the restaurant's website reads,

We want Distrito open. We want our staff employed. But our desire to remain open, does not make it so. And like many other great venues in the city, Distrito will temporarily close with hopes of reopening shortly.

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