The many Michelin Star-earning chef, Justin Bogle, told Eater that his new restaurant—located at 1523 Walnut Street—is coming along nicely, and should be open in October. He also told us that the upcoming Le Bec Fin replacement finally has a name after many months of brainstorming: Avance. And getting there wasn't easy.
"Naming a restaurant is a lot harder than anyone can imagine, which is why so many chefs name a place after themselves," Bogle told Eater. "I've been thinking about it every day since I knew we were taking over. One day we sat at a table in the dining room for 14 hours, and still couldn't come up with anything." Bogle said the name Avance—which means "to advance" or "move forward" in French—is representative of what they hope to accomplish inside the walls of the famous building that housed Georges Perrier's legendary French restaurant for four decades.
The physical structure of the interior will still be a lot like Le Bec Fin, insomuch as there will be a bar downstairs for those who are looking for drinks and quick bite, and a dining room upstairs for those who want larger plates, or want the full-on Avance dining adventure which will spread out over a few hours. But that's where the similarities to the previous tenant will end.
"Avance is going to be a completely different experience for Philadelphia's dining scene," Bogle said. "It's going to continusously evolve, and we want diners to feel like the restaurant is a living, breathing thing. We want it to feel new every time someone comes in."
Bogle said that the true Avance experience will be in the constantly changing tasting menu, which will be available the day they open the doors to the public. There will be an a la carte menu, too, though, for those folks who don't want to break the bank. Bogle promises that dining a la carte won't be any less exciting, just that the tasting menu will put the pacing and direction of the meal in the hands of the kitchen.
The fact that his restaurant is taking over 1523 Walnut Street isn't lost on Bogle, who said the address is a boon and a challenge at the same time. He understands that it was Perrier and his restaurant that put Philly on the culinary map, and made this city a viable option for a whole new generation of restaurateurs. But, he also knows it means that Avance has to completely stand out seperately from the previous tenant if they hope to survive and thrive.
"We're trying to get as far away from Le Bec Fin as possible, and not for any other reason than that we're doing our own thing," Bogle said. "That was his restaurant, Georges Perrier's restaurant. It even got a second chance and that didn't work out. This is completely different. And we can't wait to show it all to Philadelphia."