Stephen Starr

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Not to be confused with Steven Starr.

Stephen Starr is a restaurateur and head of the Starr Restaurant Organization. His honors include "Restaurateur of the Year" accolades from both Bon Appétit and Zagat.[1][2] Travel + Leisure noted that "Starr creates complete environments with an artistic, almost cerebral approach".[3] USA Today identified him as "the 'It' guy of the city’s food scene",[citation needed] while Restaurant Hospitality reported his winning the annual Richard Melman Innovator of the Year award in 2013 and cited his popular restaurants in Philadelphia as "arguably the key reason for the city’s revitalized culinary scene".[4] The Harvard Observer recognized Starr "for making contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of restaurant hospitality over the whole of his career" [5]

Personal life[edit]

Starr grew up in Woodbury Heights, New Jersey, where he attended Gateway Regional High School.[6]

A lifelong devotee of music and pop culture, Starr began his career at the age of 21 with Grandmom Minnie’s, a converted diner serving food by day and comedy by night, in Philadelphia’s Old City. He next opened Starr’s, a cabaret that featured then-emerging acts such as Jerry Seinfeld and Pat Benatar, and later Ripley Music Hall, a venue that showcased acts like U2, The Eurythmics, Cyndi Lauper and Bruce Springsteen. He founded The Concert Company to bring large-scale stadium acts to Philadelphia, and was responsible for many memorable shows in the city, including Madonna, Lionel Ritchie and George Michael. His company was purchased by Electric Factory Concerts in 1990, giving Starr the opportunity to explore the hospitality industry full-time. Early on, he opened Shake, Burger and Roll, a kitschy American diner; The Bank, a trendy dance club; and Cafe Republic, a Russian-themed caviar and vodka bar.[citation needed]

Starr is the owner of several restaurants in Philadelphia, New York City, Fort Lauderdale and Atlantic City.[7] All of these restaurants are part of the Starr Restaurant Organization.[8]

Reality TV[edit]

Stephen was the guest judge on the Restaurant Wars episode of Top Chef: Season 5.[9]


South Florida[edit]

  • Steak 954 - Ft. Lauderdale. Opened April 30, 2009. Boutique Steak House inside the Largest W Hotel.
  • Makoto - Bal Harbour. Modern Japanese.
  • Verde at Perez Art Museum Miami launched in December 2013.
  • Ted's at YoungArts expected to open December 2014.
  • Continental Miami expected to open Summer of 2015.


  • The Continental - Opened September 1995. Restored stainless steel 1960s diner located in the Old City section. The restaurant offers cocktails and global tapas.
  • Buddakan - Opened 1998. Chef is Scott Swiderski.
  • Pod - Opened October 2000. Original chef was Michael Schulson.
  • Alma De Cuba - Opened April 2001. Chef Douglas Rodriguez.
  • Morimoto - Opened October 2001. Co-owned by Chef Morimoto of Iron Chef fame. Ranked 18th in 2011 Philadelphia magazine "50 Best Places to Eat Right Now." [10]
  • El Vez - Opened November 2003.
  • Continental Midtown - Opened July 2004.
  • Barclay Prime - Opened October 2004. Chef Jeff Froehler.[11]
  • Jones -
  • Parc - Opened July 14, 2008. French cafe, bistro, brasserie. Chef Joe Monnich.[12]
  • Butcher & Singer - Opened October 27, 2008. High-end steakhouse. Ranked 19th in 2011 Philadelphia magazine "50 Best Places to Eat Right Now." [10]
  • Squareburger - burger stand located in Franklin Square
  • Pizzeria Stella - 2nd and Lombard, Philadelphia. Chef Shane Solomon.
  • El Rey - Opened April 25, 2010. Chef Dionicio Jimenez.
  • The Dandelion - Opened January 1, 2011. English pub. Chef Robert Aikens
  • Talula's Garden - Opened April 13, 2011. Chef Charles Parker.
  • Frankford Hall - Opened May 17, 2011. German beer hall, beer garden. Chef James Davidson
  • Il Pittore - Opened October 2011, 2025 Sansom St., Modern Italian. Chef Chris Painter.[13]
  • Granite Hill, French Café, Chef Gerald Drummond Located in the Philadelphia Art Museum.
  • Serpico (partnership with chef Peter Serpico)
  • Fette Sau

New York City[edit]

  • Morimoto (opened subsequent to the establishment of the Philadelphia location)
  • Buddakan
  • Caffe Storico opened December 2011[14]
  • El Vez

- Clocktower at the New York EDITION Hotel (Opened 2015) in partnership with British Chef Jason Atherton

  • Upland (opened 2014) partnership with chef Justin Smilie

Atlantic City[edit]

  • Continental - located in Caesar's Pier
  • Buddakan - located in Caesar's Pier

Washington DC[edit]

Le Diplomate - opened April 2013, located at 14th & Q Streets, NW, in Logan Circle. Executive Chef Michael Abt.


  • Hybird opened May 16, 2013 (in Chelsea Market co-owned by Questlove)
  • Cafe Republic
  • Tangerine - (January 2000-August 2009)
  • Washington Square (June 2004-November 2007)[15] - Head chef was Marcus Samuelsson.
  • Striped Bass (November 2003 (when purchased) - June 2008)[16]
  • Angelina (2003–2005) - 1960's Italian[17]
  • L'Ange Bleu (Blue Angel) (September 1999 – 2003) - Authentic French cuisine
  • Route 6 (2011 - 2014) - Seafood. Chef Anthony DiRienzo.[18]


  1. ^ "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. 
  2. ^ Fishman, Steve (26 Nov 2007). "Mr. Big Box". New York Magazine. New York Media LLC. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Maroukian, Francine (September 2003). "The Philadelphia Experiment". Travel + Leisure. Time Inc. p. 5. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "Starr, Melman compare steps to success". Restaurant Hospitality. Penton. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "Harvard Observer". Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  6. ^ Tanaka, Wendy. "Mastermind behind high-concept eateries Since '95, Stephen Starr has built a restaurant empire.", The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 26, 2002. Accessed June 8, 2015. "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."
  7. ^ Chef & Restaurant Database
  8. ^ Starr Restaurants
  9. ^ [1] Archived December 18, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ a b "50 Best Places to Eat Right Now" Philadelphia
  11. ^ "New Chef at Barclay Prime" Philly Eater
  12. ^ "Tops at Comfort Food Fest: Foie gras pierogi" The Insider
  13. ^ "Starr Strikes again in Rittenhouse" Philadelphia Inquirer, Michael Klein
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Washington Square 86ed", Philadelphia Inquirer, Michael Klein
  16. ^ Philadelphia Inquirer
  17. ^ City Paper
  18. ^ "Happiness Comes In Many Forms at Starr’s Route 6 and Vetri’s Alla Spina" Grub Street Philadelphia