Restaurateur Stephen Starr was named Restaurant Hospitality magazine's Innovator of the year.
He won the award, named for Richard Melman, for his hip restaurants that by "their very presence brings tremendous energy and vitality to the neighborhoods they occupy," according to the magazine's editor-in-chief Michael Sanson.
Melman is the founder and chairman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, which is based in Chicago. He is credited with turning restaurants into destinations.
“Stephen Starr is a great choice for the Innovator of the Year award," Melman said in a piece on the magazine's website. “He's very creative, has done some very exciting projects and I've long admired his work.”
Starr, a South Jersey native, operates more than 30 restaurants in five states. He will receive his award on Sept. 30.
You can read the magazine's story here.