Thinking of traveling to Philadelphia but don’t know where to start? Andy McNeill has brought in experts to help you straighten out your Philly travel plans! Chef Jose Garces is an Iron Chef, father, husband, James Beard Award-winner, entrepreneur, and food innovator. As a child of immigrants and a leader in the diverse and inclusive hospitality industry, the well-being of his community in Philadelphia has always been dear to Chef Garces’ heart. He shares his favorite spots in the area and where you can visit him for top-tier Spanish and Latin-American food. JoAnn Wrenn is the General Manager of The Logan Hotel and oversees all day-to-day operations of the 391-room address on Logan Square in downtown Philadelphia. Tune in as she shares her favorite vacation spots and fun activities you can try out even within their hotel premises. Find out why Philadelphia might be the ideal place for your next event destination.
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Philadelphia: For The Culinary And Art Enthusiasts With Chef Jose Garces And The Logan Hotel’s JoAnn Wrenn
For the first part of this Philadelphia episode, Andy McNeill chats with Iron Chef, James Beard Award-winner, entrepreneur, and food innovator Chef Jose Garces about his work in the area, not only in the culinary space but for the community as well. Chef Jose discusses his culinary journey, having Ecuadorian ancestry, growing up in Chicago, working in New York, and ultimately becoming a chef in Philadelphia and earning the title of Iron Chef.
Chef Jose Garces Restaurants To Add To Your Bucket List
With famed success in his field, Chef Jose has numerous restaurants to choose from and enjoy a quality culinary experience. Here are some of them:
- Amada – Spanish cuisine
- Distrito – Mexican cantina and taqueria
- The Olde Bar – seafood-centric restaurant
- Volvér – Basque restaurant
- Hook & Master – Pizza and seafood concept
- Livy’s Plant-Based Food (virtual; ghost kitchen) – Plant-based burger joint
- Rustika Pollo A la Brasa (virtual; ghost kitchen) – Peruvian rotisserie chicken concept
Up-and-Coming Areas And Favorite Spots
Philly has a lot to offer for culinary travelers. East Passyunk is a cool pocket of up-and-coming chefs and restaurateurs who’ve created a niche neighborhood with fun bars and restaurants. On the other hand, there’s a huge Ethiopian population welcomed in the West end as well.
Another famous spot is the Reading Terminal Market which offers around 30 vendors and farmers and their goods that range from jams, jellies, donuts, fishmongers, fresh produce markets, coffee shops, etc. One of Chef Jose’s favorites is a crepe sandwich shop called La Creperie.
On the Southside, Ardmore Farmers Market is another burgeoning food scene. Chef Jose also recommends checking out college town, Manayunk, and a great park with walking trails in Wissahickon Valley Park. The main streets of Manayunk also offer tons of restaurants like The Landing Kitchen and Winnie’s, and great coffee shops such as Volo Coffeehouse.
Chef Jose Garces also briefly shares his Iron Man journey, and his nonprofit work with Garces Foundation, which focuses on helping out the immigrant community in Philadelphia and the non-documented restaurant workers looking for healthcare benefits.
JoAnn Wrenn On The Logan Hotel
For the second part of this Philadelphia Special, Andy and Todd sit down with JoAnn Wrenn. JoAnn is the General Manager of The Logan Hotel, where she oversees all day-to-day operations of the 391-room address on Logan Square in downtown Philadelphia. She is also a recipient of the Sage Hospitality Eagles Award, the highest honor you can receive at Sage Hospitality.
Philadelphia’s Art Scene
The Logan Hotel is home to 1800 pieces of art located throughout the hotel’s lobby level, meeting spaces, and guest rooms. At every turn, you can enjoy amazing paintings, statues, art installations, and more. JoAnn’s personal favorite is the Elite Silhouettes chandelier you can see as you look up from the lobby.
Unique Events At The Logan
The Logan offers an array of fun and creative activities for guests to enjoy, including Live Logan, an event programming initiative aimed at the local community with the goal of treating locals and guests to fun experiences. The Live Logan program covers a lot of things:
- Mimosas and Massages for Mother’s Day
- Underground Spa
- Bring Your Own Makeup
- Holiday Wreath Making
- International Women’s Day Flower Making and Postcard Sending
- Yoga With Puppies
The Logan Hotel also has an unbelievable outdoor courtyard for special events. During the pandemic, it became a “micro” wedding haven for couples who wish to get married but have had all their plans squashed by unexpected circumstances.
Art In Residence Program
The hotel also offers a special program for artists where they donate wall space to artists and organizations to showcase their work. This is an important program for them to build community connections and really highlight Philadelphia’s art scene.
About Chef Jose Garces
Iron Chef, father, husband, James Beard Award-winner, entrepreneur, and food innovator, Chef Jose Garces is known as a leading culinary authority on Spanish and Latin-American food. From the Spanish tapas at Amada, his first restaurant, to the exciting flavors of Mexico City at Distrito, Chef Garces continually pushes the boundaries of culinary excellence While he maintains his successful career owning and operating full-service restaurants, Chef Garces is also looking toward the future, with an increased focus on bringing restaurant-quality experiences to the homes and businesses of culinary enthusiasts in new and interesting ways. From enhanced home delivery options and virtual online cooking demos, to live online cooking classes, Chef Garces is excited to connect with both fans of his work on television, as well as the home cook who’d like to experience “chef life” in their own kitchen.
As a child of immigrants and a leader in the diverse and inclusive hospitality industry, the well-being of his community in Philadelphia has always been dear to Chef Garces’ heart. To help provide ongoing and actionable assistance to the immigrant community, Chef Garces co-founded The Garces Foundation in 2011. The Garces Foundation provides services, including community health days, English language skills classes that target the restaurant industry, and most recently, an increased focus on procuring and providing food supplies to the food insecure.
About JoAnn Wrenn
JoAnn Wrenn is the General Manager of The Logan Hotel, where she oversees all day-to-day operations of the 391-room address on Logan Square in downtown Philadelphia, including departmental management, sales and marketing, recruitment, and ensuring an authentic hospitality experience for guests inspired by the heart and soul of the city.
Wrenn arrived at The Logan from JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek, whereas General Manager for four years she cultivated a collaborative team and created a climate of creative thinking, innovation, and superior service. The hotel was the second in Denver to tap Wrenn’s talents: She also spent four years first as Area Director of Sales & Marketing, then as General Manager of The Curtis Denver – A Doubletree by Hilton Hotel.
Previously, Wrenn rose in management on the sales side at luxury and upscale hotel and resort properties, including as Director of Sales at The Paramount Hotel, an Ian Schrager property in New York City; Director of Sales & Marketing at Wyndham Bristol Hotel in Washington, DC; and Director of Sales at Wyndham Dublin Hotel in Ohio. Wrenn got her start in the industry as a Front Desk Associate at Wyndham San Antonio Hotel in San Antonio, Texas.
A native of Philadelphia, Wrenn has received several recognitions for her professional prowess over the years. During her turn as GM of JW Marriott Cherry Creek in 2016, Condé Nast Traveler ranked property #9 among Top Hotels in the American West. In 2020 Wrenn was awarded Sage Hospitality’s highest honor- the Eagle Award. Presented to the team member who exhibits outstanding overall leadership not just within their location, but across the entire portfolio. Her perseverance, resourcefulness, and grit are in no doubt contributing factors to The Logan’s continued inclusion on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hotels in Philadelphia list as well as the property’s current nomination for Travel & Leisure’s 2021 World’s Best Awards.