More Culture:

November 18, 2023

Buena Onda to close Rittenhouse location indefinitely with diminishing lunch crowds

The restaurant closed for the summer and planned to reopen this fall but had to reevaluate

Restaurants Closures
Rittenhouse Buena Odna closing Provided Image/DJ Torney

Buena Onda's Rittenhouse Square location is temporarily closing in response to the ongoing decline in daily foot traffic as Chef Jose Garces and his team navigate the changing culinary scene.

The Baja-themed taqueria, Buena Onda, owned and operated by Chef Jose Garces, is temporarily closing its Rittenhouse location due to a diminishing lunch crowd. This closure follows a summer hiatus on July 31, with plans to resume operations in the fall. The Rittenhouse spot, which opened in August 2022, replaced Tinto Pintxo, a wine shop offering Spanish tapas, next to Garces' Village Whiskey, as reported by the Philadelphia Business Journal.

MORE: Royal Tavern reopens in South Philly, more than three years after the pandemic shut it down

Scott Campanella, COO of Ideation Hospitality, the overseeing group for Garces concepts, expressed optimism about reopening the 114 S. 20th St. spot "as soon as possible," citing the need for an increase in the lunchtime guest presence as a determining factor for reopening, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal.

In October 2023, Center City experienced a notable resurgence in its community dynamics, with the combined presence of workers, residents, and visitors reaching 82% of the October 2019 levels, according to the Center City District's recovery report. This upswing, particularly pronounced among workers and residents, reflects a 7% increase in the daily average of residents compared to October 2022, a 12% surge in non-resident workers, and a 2% growth in the visitor category from the previous year, according to anonymized mobile phone data from

This consistent upward trend over the past three and a half years underscores a sustained recovery, challenging any notions of reaching a plateau. The data also unveils nuanced factors influencing the return of workers, emphasizing the impact of industry affiliation and daily commute length. Despite concerns about public safety perceptions, the data suggests a resilient rebound, with increased pedestrian volumes observed across all sections of downtown.

Amid the indefinite closure of the Rittenhouse location, Buena Onda is expanding in Maryland. Earlier this year, Garces announced its first franchised location in Rockville, facilitated by collaboration with Ballard Brands and Ideation Hospitality. The expansion includes five additional locations operated by Zong and Alexis Chen. Construction for the Rockville franchise is scheduled to commence in the first quarter of 2024, with doors expected to open later in the year.

In May 2018, Louisiana-based hospitality company Ballard Brands acquired the assets of Garces Restaurant Group in a cash deal exceeding $5 million, which included assumed liabilities. The agreement was part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Garces Group, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal.