Encore for Le Bec Fin

One of Philadelphia’s legendary restaurants will close this weekend as a new owner begins renovations.

After 48 years, Georges Perrier will walk away from Le Bec Fin, the formal French restaurant he created.

As the pinnacle of Philadelphia cuisine, Le Bec Fin is credited with being the foundation of the city’s modern fine dining. It maintained a coveted five-star rating for years, but lately it has been slipping.

John Lane of Fitler Square has been a loyal diner for 37 years.

“I’ve always been aware of the many typos on his menus. And I found a few today,” said Lane, who had his final old-school Le Bec lunch on Friday.

“That hardly matters in terms of food. Sometimes the service has been less good than others, sometimes the room has looked less attractive than others. The clientele has changed drastically,” Lane said. “But I know it will be one of the great top restaurants for which people will continue to come to Philadelphia to eat.”

The new owner, Nicolas Fanucci, had worked under Perrier years ago before moving on to the French Laundry in Northern California. The renovations to the restaurant and bar (Tryst) are expected to take a couple months, and reopen with the same name.

Perrier says he wasn’t going to sell to just anyone.

“I wanted to sell the restaurant to somebody I felt could bring back Le Bec Fin to its glory days,” said Perrier with his characteristic thick accent. “I think that was the right guy. I was very picky to who I sell this restaurant to. I didn’t want to sell this restaurant to somebody that I knew could not accomplish and do better than I had done.”

Perrier is not retiring. He has a restaurant in Wayne, a bakery in Narberth, and is co-owner of a place in Atlantic City. But this will be his final bow in Center City.

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