- 251 S 18th Street, Philadelphia, PA
- Cuisine: American
- Price: $$$
- Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Charlotte and Pierre Calmels of Bibou are ready for their next venture. The couple who run one of Philadelphia’s most praised BYOBs are heading to Rittenhouse Square and the Rittenhouse Tavern space in the Art Alliance building. Michael Klein reports that couple are turning Rittenhouse Tavern into a classic French restaurant with a liquor license and at a price point lower than Bibou.
No name is set but they’re hoping for an October opening. Restaurants have struggled at the Art Alliance despite its location, attractive interior and tranquil outdoor garden. But the Calmelses have made a name for themselves at Bibou and the restaurant is one of just five restaurants that have received Craig LaBan’s four-bell rating. Before opening Bibou, Pierre Calmels was Georges Perrier’s chef de cuisine at Le Bec Fin for six years.
The writing has been the wall at Rittenhouse Tavern for quite some time. When Nick Elmi announced he was leaving the attractive restaurant tucked into the Art Alliance, he told Michael Klein that Restaurant Associates (Rittenhouse Tavern’s corporate overlord) had offered him the opportunity to take over the business. Elmi declined and the restaurant continued to operate through the summer. Last week, Eater reported that it was hearing solid reports that the restaurant would close in late September or early October.
A look at OpenTable today shows that the last reservations available after Saturday, September 28th.
Meanwhile if you are looking to eat Elmi’s food again, you’ll have to wait till November when he opens Laurel on East Passyunk. Elmi will also be competing on Top Chef New Orleans which debuts on Wednesday, October 2nd.
Photo by Jason Varney
Yes, we still have some time before the first episode of the new season of Top Chef, featuring Nick Elmi, Jason Cichonski and a bunch of other people who aren’t from Philly.
But for those of you out there who just can’t wait, we thought it might be nice to offer up a bit of history–a way for you to get a handle on our two hometown chefs and maybe come to understand, once the show starts, why this one is freaking out over his pork chops or why that one is doing that thing to that scallop. To that end, we’ve assembled a Six Pack of places where the two chefs trained, rose to prominence, made names for themselves or, in the case of Jason Cichonski, are still currently cooking (Elmi is unemployed at the moment, but working on opening his first restaurant–Laurel on East Passyunk).
It would make a helluva restaurant crawl. Or maybe something to do on the weekend before Top Chef premiers. But we're not telling you how to live your life...