Pierre and Charlotte Calmels - who over four years at Bibou have won every plaudit imaginable for a 30-seat BYOB - are going for the big time:
The couple has inked a deal to take over Rittenhouse Tavern at the Art Alliance, whose last night will be Sept. 28. They will open a classic French restaurant (priced lower than their South Philly BYO). Wine prices also will be reasonably priced, they told me.
Bibou will remain open with Ron Fougeray, their longtime sous chef (and Pierre's righthand man when he was chef at Le Bec-Fin), in the kitchen.
Ed Brown of Restaurant Associates, which operates Rittenhouse Tavern, said the Art Alliance has allowed the national company to walk away from the restaurant, which lost its mojo after the departure of chef Nicholas Elmi.
Elmi is opening Laurel, a BYOB, in November, and will compete on the next season of Bravo's Top Chef.
The Calmelses will get all the furnishings, a liquor license, and one of the sweetest outdoor gardens in Center City.