Stephen Starr

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Stephen Starr (born 1957) is an American restaurateur and former entertainment promoter based in Philadelphia. He owns the Starr Restaurants group which operates over thirty restaurants. He has restaurants in many different areas both in the United States as well as overseas. These restaurants include Barclay Prime, Buddakan, Butcher and Singer, The Continental Mid-town, The Dandelion, El Rey, El Vez, Fette Sau, Frankford Hall, Jones, Morimoto, Parc, Pod, Serpico, Stella, Talula's Daily, Talula's Garden, and The Love in Philadelphia with Aimee Olexy. Starr has been recognized for his work, and has received 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 later attended the School of Media and Communication at Temple University in Philadelphia.[2]



Starr's first venue was the diner and comedy club "Grandmom Minnie's" located in Philadelphia's Old City.[3] On September 16, 1977,[4] Starr opened the cabaret "Stars" featuring emerging acts.[5] In March 1981, Starr opened the concert venue and disco "Ripley Music Hall."[6] In February 1984, Starr founded The Concert Company, which brought large-scale stadium acts to Philadelphia.[7] The company was purchased by Electric Factory Concerts in 1990.[8]

STARR Restaurants[edit]

Stephen Starr founded STARR Restaurants in 1995.[9] In September 1995, Starr opened his first restaurant in Philadelphia, "Continental Restaurant & Martini Bar.""[10] As of 2018, there are twenty Starr Restaurants in Philadelphia; six in New York City; five in Florida; two in Atlantic City, New Jersey; two in Washington, D.C.; and one in Paris, France.[11]


Starr won the 2017 "Outstanding Restaurateur" James Beard Foundation Award; and his restaurant Le Coucou, with chef Daniel Rose, was named 2017 "Best New Restaurant" by the James Beard Foundation.[12] His restaurant The Clocktower, with chef Jason Atherton, was awarded a Michelin star in the 2018 Michelin Guide.[13] Starr has been named "Restaurateur of the Year" by both Bon Appétit and Zagat.[14][15] Travel + Leisure noted that "Starr creates complete environments with an artistic, almost cerebral approach."[16]

In 2017, the magazine Restaurant Hospitality placed Stephen Starr on their "RH 25" list of "The 25 most powerful multiconcept operators across the country."[17] 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."[18] The Harvard Observer recognized Starr "for making contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of restaurant hospitality over the whole of his career."[19]

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.[20]

Starr appeared in the 2007 documentary film "This is My Cheesesteak" directed by Benjamin Daniels.[21]


  1. ^ Tanaka, Wendy. "Mastermind behind high-concept eateries Since '95, Stephen Starr has built a restaurant empire.", The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 26, 2002. Accessed December 26, 2017. "He grew up in Woodbury Heights, the son of a television repairman. At Gateway Regional High School, he became known for promoting concerts - a fledgling business back in the late 1960s."
  2. ^ "Temple represented in Philadelphia Business Journal's "Power 76" list". Temple University. November 3, 2015. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  3. ^ Blume, Lesley (January 12, 2017). "All You Need to Know About Raucous Restaurant Impresario Stephen Starr". Vanity Fair. Conde Nast. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  4. ^ Lloyd, Jack (September 5, 1980). "Getting Ready for the New Stars". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  5. ^ "Butt-Fugly Building: 2nd and Bainbridge". Philaphilia. Blogspot. November 24, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  6. ^ Darrow, Chuck (August 23, 1985). "Stephen Starr has graduated from second fiddle". Courier-Post, Camden, New Jersey.
  7. ^ Darrow, Chuck (August 23, 1985). "Stephen Starr has graduated from second fiddle". Courier-Post, Camden, New Jersey.
  8. ^ "Starr proves creative restaurant concepts can pay off huge". No. Main Edition. The Philadelphia Inquirer. September 13, 1998.
  9. ^ "STARR Restaurants". LinkedIn. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  10. ^ Klein, Michael (September 8, 2015). "The Continental at 20". Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on September 9, 2015.
  11. ^ "Restaurants". Starr Restaurants. Starr Restaurants. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  12. ^ "Le Coucou Restaurateur Stephen Starr Wins Big at James Beard Awards". May 2, 2017. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  13. ^ "Full List: The 2018 MICHELIN Guide NYC Results Announced". Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  14. ^ Fabricant, Florence (January 25, 2006). "With 420 New Seats to Fill, Restaurateur Banks on Buzz". The New York Times. Bon Appétit magazine made him its restaurateur of the year for 2005.
  15. ^ Fishman, Steve (November 26, 2007). "Mr. Big Box". New York Magazine. New York Media LLC. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
  16. ^ Maroukian, Francine (September 2003). "The Philadelphia Experiment". Travel + Leisure. Time Inc. p. 5. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
  17. ^ Jennings, Lisa (October 3, 2017). "2017 RH 25". Restaurant Hospitality. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  18. ^ "Starr, Melman compare steps to success". Restaurant Hospitality. Penton. October 17, 2013. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
  19. ^ "Harvard Observer". Archived from the original on January 3, 2016. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  20. ^ "Bravo For Foodies". Archived from the original on December 18, 2008. Retrieved July 16, 2023.
  21. ^ "This is My Cheesesteak". IMDB. Retrieved November 4, 2017.