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Finale for Le Bec-Fin

Georges Perrier has set a closing time.

Le Bec-Fin not only is for sale, it will close.

Chef-owner Georges Perrier told staff Friday that after 40 years, he has decided to pull the plug at 1523 Walnut St. next spring.

The building is for sale, with an asking price of $3.9 million. Be aware that the wine collection is not included, nor are the chandeliers on the first floor.

Perrier said he planned three new contemporary restaurants in and around the city and told his staff during a teary meeting that he would keep his employees. His executive chef, Nicholas Elmi, will stay with him, Perrier said.

The story began to unfold earlier in the week, when local real estate brokers began talking about the offering. During a phone call with me Wednesday, Perrier denied that his restaurant was for sale. The brochure, however, suggested otherwise. Early Friday, Perrier's camp acknowledged the sale but said the restaurant would not close. Later in the afternoon, after he briefed his staff on what must have been one of the most painful decisions of his life, Perrier called to say that, yes, he was planning to move on.

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