PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Restaurateur Stephen Starr confirms he has a new Rittenhouse Square restaurant in the works and it will feature Italian cuisine.

The new restaurant at 20th and Sansom Streets will feature the food of Chef Chris Painter — which is why it’s called Il Pittore, or the painter in Italian.

You can hear Hadas Kuznits’ interview with Stephen Starr in this CBS Philly “Philly Scene“ podcast…

Starr has a history with Painter, “Chris Painter developed the Stella menu, Tangerine, Angelina, and he’s worked on most of the menus here in Philadelphia for Starr restaurants,” Starr tells KYW Newsradio.

Stephen Starr. (Credit: Mark Abrams)

Starr says this project has been in the works for some time now, “Il Pittore was supposed to be at 3rd and Bainbridge. Things didn’t work out, and then it was going to be somewhere else and things didn’t work out and finally, this location at 20th and Sansom — the former Noble space — came about and Chef Chris Painter, who’s also my partner in the project and I, are going to do an Italian restaurant.”

The owner of such famous Philly eateries as Continental, Buddakan and Parc says the neighborhood is evolving, “I always loved that block of Sansom.  It has a great history.  Back in the late 60’s and 70’s it was sort of the hippie area, there was a thing called Sansom Village which would sell all kinds of hippie clothing and records and stuff like that, so it’s got a rich history.”

He says there’s still a lot to do before the mid October opening, “We’re sending our chef/partner Chris Painter back to Italy for a week. He’s been there for a while, but we have to pick out the silverware, the dishes, we’re interviewing wine sommeliers, we’re looking at tables, chairs, we’re deciding if we’re putting flowers in the table. There’s a lot to do. Then of course the ultimate test, which is tasting the food over and over and over again until we get it right.”

Why did they decide to go Italian?

“I think at the end of the day, Italian food is still the most popular food in the United States.”

Reported by Hadas Kuznits, KYW Newsradio 1060