A reprieve for Le Bec-Fin

One of Philadelphia’s finest restaurants will not close, as was feared. Georges Perrier, owner of Le Bec-Fin on Walnut Street, has decided to keep the restaurant open and make some changes.

For decades Le Bec-Fin set the bar for fine dining in the city. When Perrier anounced last summer that he would close, some said the restaurant was a victim of his own success – that Le Bec-Fin was a cornerstone of a dining Renaissance in Philadelphia that made possible restauranteurs such as Steven Starr, Marc Vetri, and Jose Garces, whose hip concept restaurants undersold the august Le Bec-Fin experience.

Fast-forward six months: This past New Year’s Eve Perrier told his customers he had changed his mind, with some changes afoot.

“We want to attract a younger clientele, so the bar downstairs we want to do a major renovation,” said Perrier, who will rename Le Bar Lyonaaise and make it the “best bar in Philadelphia. “Make it a sexy and very elegant place and we can bring a new clientele here to eat and drink.”

Perrier says he changed his mind for two reasons: Several hundred people sent letters urging him not to close, and he will give up control of the kitchen to his new partner, Chef Nicholas Elmi. Perrier says Elmi, 30, is much like he was at that age. He also said plans for a new restaurant are in the works.

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