» READ MORE: says he's back on the wagon after a brief relapse with alcohol earlier this year


We called Stein yesterday to check on a tip that on Sunday he'd bought booze at the state store at 1913 Chestnut St.

The restaurateur without a restaurant said he was buying wine but that it wasn't for him, but for a friend's birthday he was hosting in his Old City backyard.

Stein, who had been clean of pills and booze for more than three years, did acknowledge a drinking relapse earlier this year but said he's "a couple months" clean now.

"I'm 67 years old, there's no reason for me to lie to anyone. I dropped off," Stein told us.

Stein is working on a venture at the Morris House Hotel around Washington Square and said yesterday he is also working with developer Carl Dranoff on a possible bistro in a Dranoff Properties project on South Broad Street.