The Fountain Restaurant at the Four Seasons in Philadelphia will serve its final dinner on Saturday night.
Head chef William DiStefano (“Chef Billy,” as the staff call him) won’t divulge what’s on the last dinner menu for the legendary Fountain Restaurant at the Four Seasons. He promises, though, it’ll be the “traditional Fountain experience.”
If precedent is any indication, that experience should be a tasty one.
Since opening in 1983 at the Four Seasons hotel in Logan Square, the Fountain has been one of Philadelphia’s most acclaimed restaurants. It’s the only eatery in the region to have a five-diamond rating from AAA and a five-star rating from Forbes Travel Guide. DiStefano attributes the success to a menu that changed with the seasons, even as the dining room maintained its posh, white-linen sensibility.
“That was the reason I think we survived so long,” said DiStefano. “We were always looking to adapt. We were always looking to change.”
Time eventually caught up to the restaurant. Its host hotel, the Four Seasons, will move to the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center in 2017. The Fountain will continue to serve breakfast and lunch until June. But dinner service ends Saturday night.
Another hotel will replace the Four Seasons, with a new restaurant slated to take the Fountain’s real estate.
It’s uncertain, though, if another restaurant will fill the Fountain’s place in the Philadelphia food scene, said Michael Klein, the food producer at Philly.com and the Philadelphia editor of the Zagat Survey.
“There will be a void,” Klein said. “In terms of the power room, there really aren’t too many.”
The Fountain hosted many a corporate titan during its 31-year run, including those who stayed at the adjoining hotel. But Klein said its finest attribute was the staff’s willingness to give the same unblinking attention to big shots and common folks alike. “It didn’t matter if you were a CEO or a working guy who saved up years for this one dinner, they treated everybody equally,” Klein said.
Owners also had a propensity to hire loyal staff and promote from within, Klein said, adding an air of familiarity and continuity. DiStefano, for instance, began as an apprentice at the Fountain 25 years ago.
He won’t say where he plans to go next, choosing instead to focus on the closing act ahead.
“You can look at it as a death or choose to celebrate it, ” DiStefano said. “I choose to celebrate it. It’s been a great run.”