Eater Philly has it on good authority that former Le Bec-Fin executive chef Nicholas Elmi will be the man running the kitchen at the upcoming Rittenhouse Tavern in the Art Alliance building. What was once Gardenia will now be a joint venture between Restaurant Associates and Elmi, bringing some serious credibility to the place.
We're very excited for both Elmi and Restaurant Associates, as this is probably the best scenario for the talented young chef. Elmi had been put in a no-win situation at LBF, which shuttered after dinner service last night for a complete overhaul and change of ownership, ending the era of Perrier.
We contacted Elmi about the news, but he couldn't comment on the situation (but he did mention he's taking a vacation to Montreal to spend some much-needed time with the family). But, our sources are airtight, and this is a done deal. When the name of the place was revealed, people got all uppity about yet another gastropub in Philly. We can assure you that there have been more than a few quality "taverns" in the past (Gramercy Tavern, Greenhouse Tavern, Tavern on the Green just to new a few), and this will be a chance for Elmi to show Philly what he truly can do on his own. We can't wait.