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Stephen Starr  

Owner of STARR Restaurants, James Beard Award Winner for Outstanding Restaurateur

Stephen Starr, owner of STARR Restaurants, began working in the restaurant industry at the age of 21 when he opened his first club in an Old City diner, Grand Mom Minnie's, which served food during the day and comedy at night. Next he opened Stars, a cabaret/restaurant that featured acts who were just starting out such as Jerry Seinfeld, Richard Belzer and Pat Benatar. Continuing to promote live entertainment, Starr opened a larger venue, the Ripley Music Hall, which showcased new talent such as U2, The Eurythmics, Cyndi Lauper and Bruce Springsteen, who were still very small at the time. Eventually he began The Concert Company to bring large-scale stadium acts to Philadelphia. Starr was responsible for memorable shows including: Madonna, Lionel Ritchie, George Michael and others. In 1990, when Electric Factory Concerts bought him out, he used the profit to open several new venues including: Shake, Burger and Roll, a kitschy diner; The Bank, a trendy dance club which later became District Nightclub; and Cafe Republic, a Russian-themed caviar and vodka bar.

Founded in 1995, STARR Restaurants is now one of the fastest growing multi-concept restaurant companies in the country. STARR Restaurants include Buddakan, Morimoto, The Continental, Barclay Prime, Continental Mid-Town, El Vez, Jones, Alma de Cuba, Pod, Tangerine, Parc and Butcher and Singer in Philadelphia and Morimoto and Buddakan in New York City's thriving Meatpacking District.

STARR Restaurants expanded to Atlantic City, NJ, with Buddakan and Continental at The Pier at Caesar in 2006, and Teplitzky and Chelsea Prime at the Chelsea Hotel in 2008. Most recently opened is Steak 954 at the new W Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale. With more than 20 years in the hospitality and entertainment industries, Starr likens the experience of dining out to that of attending a theater production, where the players, props, backdrops, lighting and rapport are integral components of an overall dramatic effect. When this atmospheric drama is paired with edgy, delicious cuisine, dining out at an STARR Restaurant becomes entertainment for all of the senses.

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