Stephen Starr

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Stephen Starr is an American restaurateur and former entertainment promoter based in Philadelphia. He owns the STARR Restaurants group of dozens restaurants. Starr has been recognized for his work receiving awards from the James Beard Foundation, among others.

Early life and education[edit]

Starr was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He grew up in Woodbury Heights, New Jersey, where he attended Gateway Regional High School.[1] He graduated from the School of Media and Communication at Temple University in Philadelphia in 1976.[2]


Starr's first venue was the diner and comedy club "Grandmom Minnie’s" located in Philadelphia’s Old City.[citation needed] In 1977, Starr opened the cabaret "Starr’s"featuring emerging acts.[3] In 1980, Starr opened the concert venue Ripley Music Hall.[4] Starr founded The Concert Company which brought large-scale stadium acts to Philadelphia.[when?] The Company was purchased by Electric Factory Concerts in 1993.[5]

In 1995, Starr founded STARR Restaurants[6] and also opened his first restaurant, "Continental Restaurant & Martini Bar" in Philadelphia in 1995.[7]

As of 2017, twenty of Starr's restaurants are in Philadelphia, six are in New York City, four are in Florida, two are in Atlantic City, New Jersey, one is in Washington, D.C., and one is in Paris, France.[8]


Starr won the 2017 "Outstanding Restaurateur" James Beard Award, and his restaurant Le Coucou with chef Daniel Rose was named 2017 "Best New Restaurant" by the James Beard Foundation.[9] Starr has been named "Restaurateur of the Year" by both Bon Appétit and Zagat."[10][11] Travel + Leisure noted that "Starr creates complete environments with an artistic, almost cerebral approach".[12]

In 2017, the magazine Restaurant Hospitality placed Stephen Starr on their "RH 25" list of "The 25 most powerful multiconcept operators across the country."[13] Restaurant Hospitality also awarded Starr the annual Richard Melman Innovator of the Year award in 2013 and cited his restaurants in Philadelphia as "arguably the key reason for the city’s revitalized culinary scene".[14] The Harvard Observer recognized Starr "for making contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of restaurant hospitality over the whole of his career".[15]

Film and television[edit]

Starr was guest judge on the "Restaurant Wars" episode of the reality television show Top Chef: Season 5, which aired in 2009.[16]

Starr appeared in the 2007 documentary film "This is My Cheesesteak" directed by Benjamin Daniels.[17]


  1. ^ "Archives -". Retrieved 6 October 2017. 
  2. ^ "Temple represented in Philadelphia Business Journal's "Power 76" list". Temple University. Retrieved 20 October 2017. 
  3. ^ "Butt-Fugly Building: 2nd and Bainbridge". Philaphilia. Blogspot. Retrieved 5 November 2017. 
  4. ^ Rys, Richard. "Stephen Starr and Pierre Robert on Music in Philadelphia". The Philadelphia Starr. Retrieved 4 November 2017. 
  5. ^ "Stephen Starr: Rock and Roll Restaurateur". American Express. Retrieved 4 November 2017. 
  6. ^ "STARR Restaurants". LinkedIn. Retrieved 5 November 2017. 
  7. ^ "The Continental Restaurant and Martini Bar". Visit Philly. 
  8. ^ "Restaurants". Starr Restaurants. Starr Restaurants. Retrieved 4 November 2017. 
  9. ^ "Le Coucou Restaurateur Stephen Starr Wins Big at James Beard Awards". Retrieved 6 October 2017. 
  10. ^ "Stephen Starr Restaurants". Visit Philadelphia®. The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation. Retrieved 1 January 2015. Bon Appetit magazine named Starr 'Restaurateur of the Year' in October 2005. 
  11. ^ Fishman, Steve (26 Nov 2007). "Mr. Big Box". New York Magazine. New York Media LLC. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  12. ^ Maroukian, Francine (September 2003). "The Philadelphia Experiment". Travel + Leisure. Time Inc. p. 5. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  13. ^ Jennings, Lisa. "2017 RH 25". Restaurant Hospitality. Retrieved 5 November 2017. 
  14. ^ "Starr, Melman compare steps to success". Restaurant Hospitality. Penton. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  15. ^ "Harvard Observer". Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  16. ^ Archived December 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ "This is My Cheesesteak". IMDB. Retrieved 4 November 2017.