It was one night last week, Peter Gilmore says. He was in the kitchen - in the middle of another 16-hour workday at Gilmore's, his posh French BYOB in downtown West Chester.
Sometime between the Cervelas de Homard and Crabe Doux aux Citron, with a rather full dining room in play, it hit him.
A light bulb moment.
"Let's just do it."
He had discussed this scenario with his wife and partner, Susan, many times over the last year or so. Gilmore has been cooking constantly since the late 1970s, when the Culinary Institute of America grad worked at the Coventry Forge Inn, followed by a remarkable 22 years in the employ of Georges Perrier at Le Bec-Fin, first on Spruce Street and later on Walnut. (If you ate lunch at the old LBF before 2001, Gilmore cooked your food.)
But after nearly 11 years on Gay Street and amid the tepid economy and keen competition, business was just not what it had been; he says the downturn began in 2008.
"I'm tired. This is time to make a change," he said. "Let's go out on top."
And with that, the Gilmores decided to close.
Fortunately for the Gilmores, they own the bricks. (If you're interested in leasing or buying the building - which includes the 36-seat/11-table restaurant and two apartments above, Gilmore says to write to him at the restaurant; he won't entertain calls.)