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Stephen Starr has had enough of Philly

After his next two restaurants open here, he says he will take a break.

Looks like 21 is Stephen Starr's lucky number.

Right now, Starr owns 19 restaurants in Philadelphia, if you include the seasonal Square Burger on Franklin Square and his management of Granite Hill at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He also manages the posh Rat's in Hamilton Township, N.J. (See map of his city holdings here.)

Starr says that after the October opening of Il Pittore with chef-partner Chris Painter at 2025 Sansom St. and November's planned opening of a seafood restaurant at 600 N. Broad St. (names are narrowed down to Little Neck or Route 6), he'll take a breather from Philadelphia "for a while."

He's not closing any. He's just looking elsewhere for growth.

"We're looking in New York more, and in Washington," he said. "Philadelphia is my favorite city, but I do believe that the city needs to work on some of its established neighborhoods, like South Street. I think the city government, in the last few administrations, has ignored it. Left it like an orphan. It has more potential for restaurants and retail, but the city fathers have not spent time trying to make it work."

His third New York restaurant – at the New-York Historical Society on Central Park West and fronted by former James frontman Jim Burke – is on the way. There's also a project rumored for Washington, D.C.

Starr's out-of-town holdings are a Japanese restaurant (Makoto) and a steakhouse (Steak 954) in South Florida, a Buddakan and Continental in Atlantic City, and a Morimoto and Buddakan in New York City.