Chef Jose Garces announced the introduction of two new ghost kitchens in Philadelphia, set to open February 9, 2021: Livy’s Plant Based Foods, a vegan concept featuring fresh, locally-sourced plant-based ingredients; and Rustika, centered around Pollo a la Brasa, or Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken, that was inspired by Jose’s culinary travels and South American roots.
“The resilience, persistence, creativity and unity displayed throughout the restaurant industry during a difficult time has led to new and exciting advancements, and I’m proud to be part of a community of culinary leaders who continue to innovate and re-shape the way people enjoy food and explore new cuisine styles,” says Chef Jose Garces.
Through the introduction of Chef Jose Garces’ new personal brand in September 2020, he has continued to introduce new concepts and offerings, and build brand partnerships designed for the continually evolving culinary landscape. In December, Garces experienced early success with ghost kitchens through the re-introduction of Garces Trading Company as a restaurant hub and online marketplace in which patrons can order their favorite dishes from iconic restaurant brands such as Amada, The Olde Bar and Village Whiskey all in one place for pick-up, take-out and delivery.
As delivery-only concepts remain a critical component to the future of the restaurant industry, the launch of Livy’s Plant Based Foods and Rustika as brand-new ghost kitchen concepts furthers Chef Garces’ expanded new offerings, while extending his culinary expertise to focus on new and proven cuisine styles.
Livy’s Plant Based Foods
Livy’s Plant Based Foods will introduce Philadelphia to a diverse menu of affordable, sustainable, and high-quality vegan dishes inspired by comfort food favorites like the classic burger and fries. In recent years, Chef Jose Garces has developed a personal connection and passion for plant-based cooking following the decision by his daughter Olivia—who serves as the inspiration for Livy’s Plant Based Foods— to live a plant-based lifestyle. In support of her dietary choices, Chef Garces immersed himself in the cuisine style and challenged his traditional expertise and culinary training to constantly seek creative and innovative ways to deliver healthy, substantive dishes that feature rich and decadent flavors.
“The exploration of cooking plant-based foods has led me to believe that we really don’t ‘need’ to have meat to have amazing flavors and culinary experiences. There are challenges, for sure, but meat isn’t necessary to have something that is delicious and satisfying,” says Chef Garces.
The menu, which ranges in price from $6-$20, will feature a collection of decadent meatless burgers, with protein choices including ImpossibleTM or black bean ‘chorizo’, that pair perfectly with sides ranging from crinkle cut fries, sweet potato fries, and tots to charred corn, and vegan mac & cheese. Select signature burgers include:
The Philly Steak Burger, with vegan Cheese Wiz, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms and salsa rosa
The Big Kahuna, featuring cilantro aioli, vegan white cheddar, vegan bacon, and sautéed mushrooms
The Breakfast Burger, topped with salsa rosa, vegan egg, vegan white cheddar, vegan bacon and hash brown
The BBQ Burger, layered with pickled Jalapeno, White Cheddar, caramelized onions, crispy shallots, Alabama white BBQ and Carolina Mustard BBQ
Inspired by his South American roots and explorations of Peru, Chef Jose Garces’ Rustika will introduce a concept dedicated to Pollo a la Brasa, a labor-intensive Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken technique, that embodies his passion for building flavors and incorporating signature spices and savory Umami tastes. Rustika will merge vibrant, bold flavors and unique ingredients with a delicious homestyle chicken experience, drawing on Chef Jose Garces’ expertise as one of the nation’s foremost experts in Latin cuisine.
With chicken at the heart of the menu, Chef Garces prioritized the importance of sourcing the highest-quality poultry from local farms. Each natural, hormone-free bird is carefully prepared for 72 hours, during which time it is brined, marinated, dried, and cooked in a rotisserie oven to ensure the juiciest, crispiest, and most flavorful piece of chicken.
The menu for Rustika is centered around its signature Pollo a La Brasa Rotisserie Chicken, which is served in quarter, half, or full chicken portions, with your choice of seven different sauces options including spicy cheese sauce (huancaina), Peruvian black mint sauce (ocopa), spicy chile aioli (rocoto aioli), spicy cilantro sauce, chimichurri, citrus garlic sauce, and purple olive chimichurri. Pollo a la Brasa is traditionally served with a side of potatoes, but Rustika kicks things up a notch with its rotisserie potatoes (peanut potatoes cooked under the rotisserie) and Papas a la Huancaina (rotisserie potatoes with spicy creamy cheese sauce). Additional Latin-inspired sides include grilled Peruvian corn with Andean white cheese, cauliflower a la huancaina, asparagus a la plancha with parmesan emulsion and lemon, marinated green bean salad, and more.
In addition to Pollo a la Brasa, Rustika features several empanadas, salads, and Latin American-inspired street food, including, but not limited to:
Halal Truck Style Chicken with White Sauce and Rice – pulled rotisserie chicken, yellow rice, harissa style red sauce, white sauce, halal mix, lettuce, tomatoes, onion and cucumber in a pita.
Chicken Fried Rice -pulled chicken, yellow rice, ginger, garlic, carrots, broccoli, scallions, chorizo, corn, fried egg, soy sauce, fish sauce and chopped cilantro topped with Kimchi.
Salchipapas – Hebrew National Sliced hot dogs, fried egg, Ketchup, mayo, mustard, parsley, rocoto, salsa verde, served with Russet potatoes.
Big Bowl of Chicken Soup – house-made roast chicken broth, pulled rotisserie chicken, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, fideos, poached eggs, cilantro, panca chile paste.
Menu items range from $6.00 – $20.00. Livy’s Plant Based Foods and Rustika will operate from 12:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Sunday – Monday and will be available for delivery via Uber Eats, GrubHub, Postmates and DoorDash (coming soon), or customers can order directly via: www.livysplabtbased.com and www.rustikapollo.com.