Since I broke the news that Georges Perrier was selling Le Bec-Fin, I knew I had to eat there, having never had the pleasure. So on Saturday night at 9:30 p.m., I joined scores of other anxious diners at Philadelphia’s most storied restaurant for the final seating of the final service ever under the ownership of founding chef Georges Perrier. There was the blue-blooded Main Line crowd. There was plenty of representation from the food-and-beverage intelligentsia, from Kevin Sbraga to Shola Olunloyo to Hop Sing Lee. There was the New York Times. There was Champagne, gratis. There was a little cocaine (hey, people were longing for the 1970s glory days of Le Bec). And, of course, there was Georges Perrier and new Le Bec owner Nicolas Fanucci.
We’ve spent the past two days cataloging our memories of Le Bec-Fin–from first reviews and interviews and profiles, to old ads from back in the restaurant’s heyday and collections of some of our favorite quotes from owner/driving force Georges Perrier. Now, though, it’s your turn.
With the final seating at the iconic Le Bec scheduled to go off tonight, we’ve decided to turn things over to you–the public that Perrier and his restaurant have been serving for the past 40-odd years. True, there have been ups and downs, lean times and fat, but no one can argue that Le Bec-Fin hasn’t had a strong hand in shaping the Philadelphia restaurant scene. It has been loved and reviled, given credit for starting (or solidifying) Philadelphia’s restaurant renaissance, called Philadelphia’s greatest and most recognizable restaurant, the best restaurant on the East Coast, and a faded shell of its former self. One thing it has never been? Easily dismissed.
So while we will have someone on the floor for the final service tonight, today we turn it over to you. Tell us about your greatest meal at Le Bec, your biggest disappointment. Tell us what you remember fondly and what you won’t miss. We come here today to eulogize one of the most important restaurants not just in Philadelphia, but in the whole of the United States, so don’t hold back. All memories, stories, tall tales and reminiscences are welcome.
Because after tomorrow, a new chapter in the saga of Le Bec-Fin will begin and all of this will just be history…