The First Phase of The Playground Is Opening This Weekend

Concept for The Playground's T Street.

Concept for The Playground’s T Street.

With record speed, the first phase of The Playground, known as “T Street,” is officially opening its doors to the public this Friday in Atlantic City.

The Playground is Bart Blatstein‘s reinvigoration program for the Pier Shops at Ceasars, which will hold 14 music venues, two private clubs, a bowling alley and a massive sports bar when all’s said and done. Since we’ve already talked venues, attractions, and construction, how about we talk eats?

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Stephen Starr on Entrepreneurship and Trusting His Gut Instincts

Stephen Starr (left) being interviewed by Philadelphia magazine editor Tom McGrath at the BizPhilly launch party.

Stephen Starr (left) being interviewed by Philadelphia magazine editor Tom McGrath at the BizPhilly launch party.

In BizPhilly’s quest to cover entrepreneurship and innovation, we’re always interested in picking the brains of some of the most successful people in town. How did they first gain traction? Where did they find the courage to forgo comfort and security and head out on their own? What advice do they have for the rest of us?

To kick things off, we hosted the BizPhilly launch party on June 8 at the Barnes Foundation. And who better to chat about entrepreneurship than Stephen Starr, the owner of 36 restaurants and employer of 4,300 people. Read more »

Summer School: Learn To Make Sushi At Pod


Stephen Starr’s Pod will teach you how to make sushi this summer. Every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from June 22 through August 12, eight diners per night will learn the art from in-house master sushi chef, Tomoyuki Takasu. With an up-close view of the conveyor belt sushi bar, you’ll make several types of sushi, study butchering techniques, and learn more about Pod’s signature offerings.

But wait, there’s more!

Cinco de Mayo Roundup: Where to Eat and Drink as the 5th of May Approaches


With Cinco de Mayo just a week away, we over at Foobooz Headquarters decided we could no longer put off going through the folder we had marked, “Cinco de Mayo: Deal With Later,” in our emails. So here it is you tequila and guacamole guzzling heathens: your guide to Philly’s Cinco de Mayo.

Cinco de Mayo Street Festival at El Rey: The Stephen Starr restaurant is hosting its first ever, all-day (5/5, 2pm-10pm) street festival, featuring Mexican street food (think tacos, quesadillas, nachos, corn, margaritas and agua fresca), live mariachi music, piñatas and giveaways. The festival will be on the 2000 block of Ranstead Street.

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Buddakan Celebrates The Year of the Sheep

buddakanPASure, Solomonov might be celebrating the year of the sheep by serving up a ton of lamb, but if you really want to ring in the Chinese New Year right, head over to Buddakan.

Stephen Starr‘s signature Asian fusion joint will be adding Chinese New Year specials to their menu from February 19-27, and hosting a single dim sum brunch on Sunday, February 22 from noon-3pm.

The brunch will feature a lion dance performance, a red tea service, and the traditional red envelopes presented at the meal’s completion (some of which will contain vouchers for complimentary drinks, appetizers, deserts and brunch). Guests also get to take away a signature chocolate dessert from Buddakan’s pastry chef Cedric Barberet.

To reserve your spot at Buddakan for the Chinese New Year festivities call (215)574-9440.

Buddakan [Official]

Foobooz Six Pack: Philly’s Best Pie


Double Crust Apple Pie à la mode from Jones

Philadelphia is a quintessentially American city. We have the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the Betsy Ross House. Even more important, we have some of the best pies in the country — and there is nothing more American than pie. Here are six of the best places in Philly to get a slice.

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Stephen Starr Invents Novel Way to Overpay for Pitcher


A Dandy growler at the Dandelion

Yesterday afternoon we received a press release from Stephen Starr’s PR firm regarding a new offer from the Dandelion. Starr’s attractive English pub is celebrating its fourth anniversary by offering a limited number of growlers for sale.

That intrigued us enough to duck out to figure out if this is any kind of deal. It isn’t. But beer and Starr rarely are. The Dandelion is offering the 32-ounce growler for $5 filled, $8 if you just want the glass. Then you are charged for three 10-ounce pours at regular price to fill it. So a growler gets you about two ounces extra. Many bars that fill growlers will fill your 64-ounce growler for the price of 3 pints, resulting in one free beer per growler. The Youngs Double Chocolate Stout was $10.50 for 32-ounces ($3.50 a ten-ounce pour), $4.50 less than the Yards Grapefruit infused Philadelphia Pale Ale that was $15 for 32-ounces.

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Stephen Starr and Pierre Robert on Music in Philadelphia

Photograph by Dustin Fenstermacher

Stephen Starr and Pierre Robert. Photograph by Dustin Fenstermacher

STEPHEN: You know, growing up, my goal was to be a disc jockey.

PIERRE: Really? Wow.

STEPHEN: I got my FCC license when I was 15. I was 16 at a radio station in Vineland, New Jersey. I wanted to be Scott Muni. Same guys that you probably looked up to. I used to love listening to Michael Tearson and Ed Sciaky. Michael was my favorite — that voice. Then I got a job at WMGM in Atlantic City.

PIERRE: That’s so cool. I came to town in ’81 from San Francisco, and the Ripley [Music Hall, Starr’s club] was already established.

STEPHEN: That was on South Street. It opened in ’80, next to what is now my restaurant, Serpico. I knew all the radio guys ’cause we advertised a lot, so we got to know Pierre through that. And then we did a big welcoming of John [DeBella] when he came.

PIERRE: He was amazing. When he walked into the studio, he had a red beret on, and red mirrored sunglasses and a red leather jacket — at six in the morning. I knew the world had changed at ’MMR. … I was floored by how alive the music scene was at that time. There were all these great local bands: Kenn Kweder, the A’s, Beru Revue, and, later, Tommy Conwell, the Hooters, Robert Hazard and the Heroes. I walked down South Street on a Monday night and it was bursting with energy. You wouldn’t find that today.
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