It looks like Stephen Starr and Aimee Olexy, already partnered on Talula’s Garden on Washington Square, are opening another restaurant together. Word is their new venture is a bi-level spot right off Rittenhouse Square, at 18th and Sansom streets. The address had most recently been the Philly outpost of New York’s Serafina. Starr took over the space last summer. The new restaurant is slated to open this fall and serve American fare with lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch hours.
*Updated:* More details have been revealed about the project. Starr and Olexy’s restaurant, named The Love, will include seats for 100 spread out between the dining room, outdoor tables, and a loft with a 20-seat communal table. Joshua Tomaszewski, a Pennsylvania native who was chef de cuisine at A Voce in New York, is The Love’s chef. The restaurant is being officially described as a “spirited and carefree neighborhood café celebrating everyday American cuisine.”
Olexy and Starr first worked together in the late 1990s when she took on the role of general manager at the now-closed Blue Angel. She left Starr Restaurants in 2001 to open Django, later selling it and, in 2007, opening Talula's Table in Kennett Square, where reservations are still made a year in advance.
Starr, as anyone at all familiar with Philly’s food scene knows, established several more acclaimed eateries here and in New York, Washington, D.C., Atlantic City, Miami, and Paris, picking up two James Beard Awards in the process.
One of his restaurants that didn’t last was Washington Square, located on its namesake park. Starr closed Washington Square but held on to the space, and in 2011 teamed up with Olexy for Talula’s Garden. The adjacent market, Talula’s Daily, opened a couple of years later.
In 2014 Olexy and Starr started working on a Fishtown restaurant, but that fell through — the Frankford Avenue property they had in mind is about to open its doors as Middle Eastern restaurant/market/garden Suraya.
And now they’re hiring for the new Rittenhouse restaurant, set across the street from Starr’s British pub Dandelion. Job ads are up for both front- and back-of-house positions. A job fair will take place at Talula’s Garden (210 W. Washington Square) on Monday, September 18.