With this weekend’s closing of Avance at 1523 Walnut Street, we thought we’d look back at the modern history of this most storied address. Check out our timeline history of the fall from popularity of what was the most famous restaurant address in Philadelphia.
Michael Klein has the scoop. One day after we broke the news that Georges Perrier had lost 1523 Walnut Street in a sheriff’s sale earlier this month, the new owners have moved to evict Avance, the building’s current tenant. Read more »
Georges Perrier Loses Le Bec-Fin Building in Sheriff’s Sale (But It May All Be Part of an Elaborate Plan) [UPDATED]
UPDATE 6/12/2014: The new owner of 1523 Walnut Street has moved to evict Avance, the current tenant.
Storied Philadelphia chef Georges Perrier has owned 1523 Walnut Street since 1981. It housed his legendary French restaurant Le Bec-Fin, which closed in June 2013, making way for Avance, Perrier’s tenant. But now, Perrier has lost ownership of the building in a sheriff’s sale.
Foobooz is friends with this guy named Ronnie Ribant. He’s the man behind Grand Circus Paper & Toy. He makes hand-crafted paper toys and models of iconic Philly-related things, ranging from SEPTA buses to the whole SEPTA bus crash scene at Monk’s. You’ve probably seen his work in stores (Nice Things on EPX) and in restaurants/bars (Memphis Taproom has its own paper model displayed inside). We thought they were pretty cool, so we asked Ronnie if he could make something for us, and only us. He agreed.
And now we have a beautiful model of 1312 Spruce Street, the iconic building that’s been home to two of the most important restaurants in Philadelphia history: Le Bec Fin and Vetri. It’s got the mural on the side, and a hanging sign with Vetri on the front and Le Bec Fin on the back. Head over to the store to check it out.
The former Le Bec Fin at 1523 Walnut Street will reopen later this year under the name Avance. Two-star Michelin chef Justin Bogle had already been announced as the chef for what promises to be a progressive American restaurant. Bogle received his Michelin stars and other serious accolades while chef at New York’s Gilt.
Bogle, an area native, promises the restaurant will feature locally sourced ingredients prepared in classic and modern techniques. Bogle sees Avance as appealing to diners with a taste for exploration and new experiences. Chef Bogle is “determined to create a Philadelphia experience like no other.”
Over on the Insider, they’ve got pictures of the iconic Le Bec Fin sign being taken off the building at 1523 Walnut (which, sometime soon, will become a completely different restaurant under the command of chef Justin Bogle). But this isn’t the end for those storied letters. They’re being moved to their new home at McGillin’s Old Ale House, where they’ll join a collection of famous names and logos (Wanamakers, Gimbels, Deux Cheminees) already hung in places of honor.
Honestly, I’m glad that they’ll still be displayed somewhere. It’s a fitting tribute. Head on over to the Insider to check out the full story behind the transfer.
Le Bec Fin Sign To Live On [Insider]
Illustration by Kagen Mcleod
Mr. Perrier teamed with Mr. Vetri in the kitchen, and they produced a seven-course tasting menu that wasn’t just a distillation of the best of Le Bec-Fin but a valentine to a lost civilization, the one where Lutèce, La Caravelle and La Côte Basque in Manhattan once flourished.
And what a valentine. From the caviar and the escargots, my dining companion and I proceed to sautéed sweetbreads, a crab galette, a fillet of beef and more, some of it with sauces so rich and intense they’re druggy.
For 3 Nights, a Legend Lives Again [New York Times]
For the next three nights Le Bec-Fin will return to its original location and current location of Vetri at 1312 Spruce Street. Marc Vetri is converting his restaurant over to Le Bec-Fin and handing his kitchen over to Georges Perrier. The dinners sold out almost immediately when announced last month. As you can see, Vetri is going all out in transforming the restaurant to its former self.
Check out more photos on Marc Vetri’s instagram feed.
Photo via Carolyn Gracie
It truly is the end. A tipster forwarded us this photo of Le Bec Fin’s signature chandeliers being removed from the Center City restaurant.