PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One of the most talked-about restaurants in town won’t be closing after all.

perrier georges tawa side <em srcset=Le Bec Fin Will Remain Open With New Partner" width="200" height="201" />Its chef-owner has had second thoughts and is telling his patrons this week that he’ll keep Le Bec-Fin, on Walnut Street in center city, open.

Chef Georges Perrier (top right), a tour de force in shaping the restaurant scene in Philadelphia, points to several top-rated chefs in a recent Philadelphia Magazine poll, many of whom once worked his kitchens before striking out on their own.

“I didn’t say it, they said it: they were asked which is Philadelphia’s most underrated restaurant, and they all said Le Bec-Fin.”

elmi tawa <em>Le Bec Fin</em> Will Remain Open With New PartnerSo, rather than sell or close Le Bec-Fin after 40 years,  Perrier is taking on his protegé, 29-year-old executive chef Nicholas Elmi (bottom right), as a partner.

“I was the chef of his restaurant in Atlantic City,” recalls Elmi.  “Prior to that I was working in New York City, and I worked with Chef before at Brasserie Perrier, down the street.”

Meanwhile, Chef Perrier, 67, who wants to relax just a bit more, was trying some items from the menu that Chef Elmi was tweaking.

“What did I order? Chicken.  No potatoes — I’m on a strict diet,” Perrier said.

Patrons are delighted that Le Bec-Fin will remain open.

“When you feel like French, there is only one person in Philadelphia: it’s Georges Perrier,” said one.

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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