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Mega-Restaurateur Stephen Starr May Be Returning to His Nightclub Roots

The pioneering restaurateur has a new venue in the works in Fishtown

green building with sign that says selden motors
The future home of a new Stephen Starr venue on Front Street.
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Prolific restaurateur Stephen Starr, who’s been shaping Philadelphia’s food scene for 25 years and its entertainment scene for longer than that, has a new venue in the works in Fishtown, Philly Mag reports. Details are sparse, but according to an internal email the magazine got its hands on, Starr’s first new Philly project in two years will be a Mexican restaurant and bar that incorporates entertainment — music and the arts.

In on the project is New York club owner Serge Becker. They’re calling it LMNO and it’s at 1739-49 N. Front Street, where Fishtown and Kensington meet, on the same block as Evil Genius brewery in what was a tile and granite shop. At one point a few years ago it was set to become an auto dealership, according to local realty site Rising Real Estate: “Selden Motors” signage went up, but the auto dealer never moved in.

Starr is known today as a James Beard Award winning restaurateur with 19 restaurants in Philly alone, along with acclaimed spots in New York City, Atlantic City, Washington, D.C., Florida, and Paris. But the Philly native and Temple grad got his start here as a club owner — Grand Mom Minnie’s, Stars, Ripley Music Hall, the Bank — and a concert promoter. In the late 1970s, his cabaret/comedy club Stars at Second and Bainbridge brought in acts like Bob Saget and Jerry Seinfeld. In the early ’80s he set up a concert promotion company later sold to Electric Factory Concerts.

In 1995, Starr opened Continental, an upscale, retro-styled diner and martini bar in Old City, ushering in a new era for the neighborhood. His restaurant empire grew from there.

Starr already has two Fishtown venues near the future LMNO, beer hall Frankford Hall and barbecue spot Fette Sau, and two Mexican restaurants in Center City, El Rey and El Vez. His most recent Philly opening was the Love off Rittenhouse Square.

Nearby LMNO, another food-and-entertainment venue, cabaret restaurant Fabrika, opened in Fishtown earlier this month.