The long goodbye of the Four Seasons Hotel begins Dec. 27, when the Fountain marks its last night of dinner service - effectively, the end of the city's most-honored restaurant.
Breakfast and lunch will continue to be served in the dining room till June 6, the day that the Four Seasons shuts down in anticipation of its move to the top of the new Comcast Innovation and Technology Center in 2017.
After a renovation, a new hotel operator will take over the landmark granite building on Logan Circle in 2016.
Based on a press release last week, we may not know which brand of hotel but at least we know about the main dining option.
And it will have a dramatic component.
It will be a farm-to-table-themed steakhouse called Urban Farmer, according to Sage Restaurant Group, the Denver-based management company. Sage owns Urban Farmer restaurants in Portland, Ore., and Cleveland.
By coincidence, Sage's chief operating officer and cofounder is Peter Karpinski, who spent a few years as a top manager with Starr Restaurant Organization. When he left in 2005 for Denver, he was director of operations.
While the Fountain has it all: great food, service and atmosphere, Karpinski tells me that Urban Farmer will have something else: an entrance on the Logan Circle side. He said the city would be retune the sidewalks outside to allow access. Patrons will be able to get into the restaurant through the current entrance off the lobby.
"What we're trying to do with Urban Farmer is very indigenous to the marketplace," Karpinski said. "Say you're in Cleveland. You'd say, 'I get it. It's very unique to Cleveland, but it looks like an Urban Farmer.' This restaurant will clearly be in Philadelphia."
"Over the last 10 years, we've watched Philly grow, evolve and thrive," Karpinski told me. "Stephen has opened more restaurants, Jose [Garces] has opened a few. I'm humbled to have an opportunity to do something here."
Karpinski described it as a modern steakhouse, with an average dinner ticket of $80 a head, comparable to other downtown steakhouses.
Urban Farmer will be a little bigger than the Fountain. Sage plans to push into what is now the Swann Lounge and will build a patio.