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Modern Catalan Tapas + Chops

Mercat a la Planxa is a modern interpretation of timeless Catalan traditions. Located on Michigan Avenue, Mercat offers an authentic dining experience that combines fresh meats and produce with the energetic spirit of a Barcelona market. The interiors boast bright, rich fabrics and weathered mosaic tiles, accented by dynamic sculptural furniture and distinctive art murals. Chicago native, Chef Jose Garces, fuses age-old flavors from Spain’s Catalan region with a modern signature twist. The inspired menu offers diners the chance to experience the rich culture of Barcelona, whether they’re savoring small plates, distinctive steaks, or sampling from Mercat’s extensive cava, sangria, and wine or bar selections. Mercat a la Planxa combines the best of both the old and new worlds, bringing a Catalan aesthetic to the heart of Chicago.

Mercat a la Planxa

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Executive Chef

Jose Garces

Since opening his first restaurant in 2005, Chef Jose Garces has emerged as one of the nation’s leading chefs and restaurateurs.  Today, he is the owner and operator of more than a dozen restaurants in five cities.  He is the 2009 winner of the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic” award and one of only a few chefs in the country to hold the coveted title of Iron Chef.  Chef Garces is the author of The Latin Road Home (Lake Isle Press, October 2012), a culinary and cultural tour of Ecuador, Spain, Mexico, Cuba and Peru, and his debut cookbook, Latin Evolution (Lake Isle Press, Fall 2008).

An American born to Ecuadorian parents and raised in Chicago, Garces’ culinary training started early in life, in the kitchen of his paternal grandmother, Mamita Amada, where he learned to prepare family recipes and came to love food and cooking.  After graduating from Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts, Garces worked in top-rated professional kitchens from Spain to New York City before moving to Philadelphia in 2001 to make it his home where he lives today.

Chef Garces’ eponymous Garces Group operates restaurants in Philadelphia, PA; Chicago, IL; Scottsdale, AZ; Palm Springs, CA and Atlantic City, NJ.  His award-winning concepts range from authentic Andalusian tapas and modern Mexican street food to European bistro fare and artisanal American food and drink.  In addition, Chef Garces is the owner of 40-acre Luna Farm in Bucks County, PA, where he and his team grow produce used throughout his East Coast restaurants.

His Philadelphia ventures are each counted among the city’s best: AmadaTinto;  DistritoVillage WhiskeyGarces Trading CompanyJG DomesticDistrito Taco Truck and Garces Catering, a full-service event planning division that designs and executes gatherings ranging from casual business luncheons to formal black-tie weddings.  In addition, Chef Garces creates menus for all special events and concessions for the Kimmel Center, Academy of Music and Merriam Theater.  In fall 2013, Garces will debut Volver at the Kimmel Center.

In Chicago, Chef Garces is the executive chef of Catalan restaurant Mercat a la Planxa, where he works in collaboration with Sage Restaurant Group.  In partnership with Atlantic City’s Revel, Garces has opened AmadaVillage WhiskeyDistrito CantinaYuboka; and Distrito Taco Truck.

Chef de Cuisine

Cory Morris

Chef Morris was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and showed an interest in cooking from a very young age. Growing up, his earliest culinary memories were cooking dinner for his siblings so they could avoid store bought, pre-packaged meals while his parents we busy working. Chef Morris began his culinary career in 2000 as an assistant to the chef at the fine dining restaurant Mariposa in Park City, Utah. In 2004, Morris was appointed executive chef of Red Rock Grille, and later as chef of The Club at Spanish Peak in Big Sky, Montana, where he created seasonal menus and utilized local, organic ingredients. Morris eventually moved to Chicago, where he was named sous chef at Mercat a la Planxa when it opened in early 2008 under the direction of Executive Chef Jose Garces and Chef de Cuisine Michael Fiorello. Now, as chef de cuisine, Morris enjoys adding a modern spin to Catalan classics. Chef Morris’s approach to food is derived from his travels through Spain, France, and the United States, as well as the industry luminaries he has worked alongside, including chefs Jose Garces and Joyce Goldstein. He believes that food is meant not only for consumption but to excite the palate and create memories. In his spare time, Chef Morris enjoys cycling and exploring different cultures through Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods and their food.

General Manager

Meaghan Goedde

Meaghan Goedde brings more than two decades of restaurant experience to her position as General Manager of Mercat a la Planxa, in Chicago, Illinois. As part of Sage Restaurant Group since 2006, Goedde has also successfully opened the Corner Office in Denver and was the opening GM of Urban Farmer in the Nines Hotel in Portland.

Goedde started, Hapa Sushi, in Boulder, Colorado in 1999. What started as an idea kicked around by a group of friends, grew into a four-unit operation. Goedde oversaw operations and helped launch the franchise business of which she was a part owner and Vice President. This experience helped her understand the complexities involved in opening a restaurant – from training the sushi chef to financial reporting. “I learned how to think outside the box and pay attention to details when I opened Hapa Sushi,” said Goedde. “I partnered with creative people who taught me the importance of assembling a great team where everyone cares about the end product.”

Growing up in a resort town in upstate New York, Goedde spent summers in restaurants as a line cook and cocktail waitress. “I was always fascinated by the people in the restaurant world – from the dishwasher who was a screenwriter to the cook passionate about mushrooms.” She is also responsible for the idea of creating “Moonshine Punch” for the menu at Urban Farmer and was recognized by Restaurant Business Magazine for “25 best new ideas in restaurants in 2008.”


News + Press

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