Back Bay restaurant L’Espalier, known for its sophisticated fare and impeccable service, is closing after 40 years. Its last day of operation will be Dec. 31.
“The lease is up, and I don’t really have the desire to continue to do this and renew,’’ says chef-owner Frank McClelland. He is working on a new project he can’t yet disclose, he says.
L’Espalier has been the site of countless marriage proposals and milestone celebrations, hosting everyone from Julia Child to Mick Jagger to Henry Kissinger. Elegant and expensive, it is synonymous with fine dining in Boston. The restaurant opened in 1978, in the Boylston Street space that would become the Rattlesnake and is now Globe Bar and Cafe. Its arrival signaled a new direction for the local restaurant scene. “The city’s Yankee clubs and old-style French restaurants got a wake-up call from nouvelle cuisine when L’Espalier opened,’’ as a New York Times story once put it.