Stephen Starr To Take Over Serafina Spot

Prodigious restaurateur adds to his Rittenhouse holdings.

Serafina location at 18th and Sansom will become a Stephen Starr restaurant.

Serafina location at 18th and Sansom will become a Stephen Starr restaurant.

Serafina is going to be taken over by Stephen Starr. The Italian restaurant from New York landed with significant fanfare in 2011. It was immediately the place to see and be seen but its bloom faded quickly with lackluster and comically bad reviews. Then there was the Cliff Lee incident. And since then, the restaurant has gotten by on tourists, Rittenhouse Square lifers and its location on bustling 18th Street. According to Michael Klein, Serafina will remain open through November before Starr moves in.

Starr has not settled on a concept for the 160-seat restaurant and the Bunker LLC on the liquor license doesn’t give too much away. We’re guessing it isn’t a golf or World War I themed restaurant.

But hypothesizing what concept it will be is a fun game for a warm afternoon. Starr’s most recent project, Le Coucou recently opened in New York City. That restaurant brings American chef Daniel Rose back to the US from France, where he had made a name for himself by out Frenching the French at his two Parisian restaurants. But with such a location and presumably pricy rent, we doubt this will be one of Starr’s recent chef driven collaborations like he did when he opened his last Philadelphia restaurant, Serpico in 2013.

Starr’s big recent openings have been takes on Parc, Le Diplomat in Washington D.C. and Le Zoo in South Florida. Just a block from the original, that won’t be what lands at 18th and Sansom. Perhaps Starr will resurrect one of his older concepts that he’s floated from time to time. Could this be the location for high-end Indian or Greek? Or perhaps he sticks with Italian? After all Rittenhouse did recently lose Il Pittore.

What do you think will replace Serafina? Let us know in the comments.