Once internationally acclaimed, Le Bec Fin closes doors for good

Some regulars came on Friday to squeeze in one last lunch. Some younger diners came to experience the legend for the first time before the door closed forever. Longtime customers clapped longtime waiters on the shoulder.

Le Bec Fin, the celebrated Philadelphia restaurant that had been among the finest in the world, will serve its last dinner Saturday night.

The dining room, with its three ornate chandeliers and formal tables set with meticulously knotted napkins, populated with crisply dressed servers, had been an international destination for fine French dining.

After maintaining the highest restaurant standards for 42 years, Chef Georges Perrier bowed out last year, handing the struggling epicurean landmark to new owners — new owners who, a year later, bowed out themselves.

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“It changed a lot. When Georges was here, he was the boss,” said Delroy Oliver, a head waiter who started as a busboy at Le Bec Fin 21 years ago. “With new owners and new investors, we had more than one person to answer to. Before, we just answered to Georges.”

Paying his final respects, Bill Leonard came to lunch on Friday. He has been coming to Le Bec Fin for special occasions for more than 30 years, since it was at its original location on the east side of Broad Street.

“It had a long run. I think tastes change. New generations bring new tastes and new priorities,” said the Center City resident. “It had a run, and perhaps it’s time for an end.”

Customers, and staff, are all looking forward to the restaurant’s next life. It does not yet have a name, and nobody has seen plans for the restaurants redesign. All anybody knows is that it will not be called Le Bec Fin, and it will not be French. The new concept will feature a progressive American menu, overseen by Chef Justin Bogle.

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