In May, beloved South Philly BYO Bibou will turn six years old — and with that anniversary will come some serious upheaval, as laid out in this statement posted to their site:
We now realize that Bibou is ready to "grow up". So, after closing for the entire month of April, Bibou will reopen four nights a week with Pierre in the kitchen, offering a set, multi-course menu for $100 per guest.
This marks the full-time return of chef-owner Pierre Calmels to the kitchen at Bibou (he's more recently devoted much of his attention to younger sibling spot Le Cheri). As previously reported by the Insider, chef Ron Fougeray, who has been running the Bibou kitchen, plans to move to California with his family. The one-month shutdown at Bibou will provide a chance for some renovations, owner Charlotte Calmels told the Insider.
The changes mean Bibou will be less affordable. Smaller, a la carte meals will be a thing of the past. Dinner service only four nights a week will mean no more $50 prix fixe on Sundays, while the $100 tasting menu is a bump up from the restaurant's current $70 price tag on the chef's tasting (which has limited availability).
Still, this represents the first-ever price increase for a tasting at Bibou, and while it's a significant bump that marks a move toward the upper end, it remains competitive. (For reference, relative newcomer Laurel — also BYO, tasting menu-only on weekends, and offering a similar number of courses — currently charges $85 for their tasting.) And we have to think that the fixed format and increased price will help smooth over the operational headaches that can sometimes result from such a tiny restaurant's need to turn over tables.
Charlotte Calmels tells us that they're not yet sure if the new tastings will include some of Bibou's existing signature dishes or if they will be completely new, but the move could certainly open the door to more ambition and improvisation. And it will differentiate the experience even further from that of larger Le Cheri, which remains purely a la carte and has a liquor license.
Through all the changes, one big thing will stay the same: Bibou will remain cash-only, as well as BYOB.
Bibou fans who would like to experience the restaurant again as-is should try to sneak in before the end of March. The restaurant will begin taking reservations on April 15 for the new iteration to debut in May.