On June 15th, after nearly 40 years of service, Philadelphia's Le Bec Fin saidau revoir. Many credit Georges Perrier's restaurant with putting Philadelphia on the culinary map, long before craft beer bars, small plate bistros, hip noodle houses, gourmet hot dog joints, and the like sprouted up on many a city block. For decades, "Le Bec" was the premier place in town, and represented all things high end.
But after Perrier stepped down in spring 2012, and Le Bec opened under new management, many rumors surrounding the future of the place started to swirl. Now this famed establishment truly closed for good. The Insider reports that chef Justin Bogle (formerly of Gilt in Manhattan), plans to reopen the space as a "micro-seasonal" concept after a full overhaul of both the exterior and the interior of the posh space. The downstairs bar at Le Bec Fin will be open during renovations, and the new crew (led by director of operations Chris Scarduzio) hopes to re-open some time in the fall.
While it was sad to watch a local institution take its last gasps and, finally, shutter its doors, Le Bec Fin enjoyed a long legacy, longer than many, many restaurants can endure. Perhaps this is a sign of the "death of fine dining" in American cities that many food critics claim is transpiring, but it also might be the chance for true reinvention that keeps the iconic location at 15th & Walnut relevant to a new generation of diners.