Starr, Friedman In “Serious Talks” to Open a Gastropub in Philly

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Ken Friedman Photo: Patrick McMullan

What do you do when you're just about ready to pack it in for the day and the one, the only Stephen Starr calls and leaves a very pleasant voicemail asking you to call him back? First, you wonder if he's calling to talk about the post you ran earlier in the day about how Spotted Pig owner Ken Friedman is under no circumstances opening a Spotted Pig with Starr in Philly. Then you put on some lipstick, fluff up your hair and hit redial! Turns out Starr called to tell us that — contrary to what Ken Friedman said on Friday — he and Friedman actually are in talks to open a gastropub in Philly.

Starr tells us nothing is signed, everyone is still just talking and he won't confirm an exact location, but he says talks are "very, very serious" between the two to open some sort of gastropub in Philly. Which led us to wonder, why did Friedman flat-out lie to us when we called him to follow up on the tip? To recap, Friedman told us he absolutely wasn't working on anything in Philly or with Starr and would "never do another Spotted Pig and definitely not in Philadelphia." He also said, "I like Philadelphia, but isn't it kind of small?"

Starr, who called us to straighten out the story, tells us we caught Friedman off guard when calling to follow up the tip. He says Friedman "got flustered" and his response to being flustered was to deny everything.

Ken Friedman, impresario of many of New York's most noteworthy restaurants, is flustered by a call from Grub Street. Grub Street Philadelphia, even! We're flattered - annoyed that we were lied to - but flattered nonetheless. And we're guessing if these two moguls do go into business together, Starr will be the one handling the press.

Previously: There Will Never Be Another Spotted Pig Anywhere, But Especially Not in Philly