Not only are they busy making movies, music or sporting history, but many stars also seem to love branching out into the restaurant business. Depending on where in the United States (or even overseas) you live, you might just find that the next time you eat out, a celeb is actually partially responsible for your meal!
From New York City and Los Angeles to New Jersey, Boston, Park City, Las Vegas and Dubai, there are celebrity-owned restaurants all around the globe. If you’ve got an appetite for dining at star-studded venues, read on for a run-down of ten top restaurant options.
10. Mark Wahlburg – Wahlburgers, Boston
Recently the subject of a new reality TV series that documents the ins and outs of Chef Paul Wahlberg (until now a less well-known family member), Wahlburgers’ is a gourmet burger restaurant located in Boston and also owned by Mark Wahlburg and his other brother Donnie.
The laid-back venue serves up both favorite and unique burger recipes, such as the Salmon Burger, Portobello Mushroom Cap Burger and Thanksgiving Burger. The restaurant is also known for its custom cocktails (called “Wahlcoctions”) and popular children’s menu. The brand has recently announced plans to open a second venue in Boston as well as an expansion to Toronto, Canada, so you might soon have a few ways to try out the popular cuisine.
9. Robert Redford – Zoom, Park City
Opened in 1995 as part of Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort Group in Utah, Zoom, located in Park City serves up hearty North American fare dishes (think ribs, buffalo osso bucco and Mexican dishes), as well as a variety of local wines. The laid-back atmosphere and casually-elegant setting has been popular with patrons since the venue opened, and the location pays tribute to Park City’s pioneering history. In fact, the restaurant is housed in a building that was originally a Union Pacific railway depot. The restaurant has won numerous awards over the years, including Utah’s Best of State in 2010, 2011 and 2013.
8. Chris Noth – Cutting Room, New York City
Sex and the City star Chris Noth’s love of music led to he and his co-owner, Steve Walter opening the Cutting Room in New York City. The restaurant is a live music venue that features an eclectic line-up of artists, as well as five-star food and drinks. Now in its second incarnation in the city, the multi-level bar and entertainment establishment has a supper club vibe and features a red-curtained main stage, a curved wooden bar and a diverse range of menu items. Patrons can similarly enjoy a varied line-up of music, with everything from jazz and funk to burlesque and big-name rock and pop stars.
7. Ashton Kutcher – Ketchup, Dubai
If you’re heading off to Dubai for a vacation and you feel like munching on some American fare, head to Ketchup, owned by The Dolce Group. Ashton Kutcher first invested in the Group many years ago (along with his That 70’s Show co-star Wilmer Valderrama) and past establishments have included popular venues such as Dolce Enoteca e Ristorante, Geisha House and Bella Cucina Italiana. Now The Dolce Group has expanded to Dubai with Ketchup, a funky dining brand that’s adding a modern touch to classic American cuisine and putting a gourmet, upscale twist on old favorites like hot dogs and burgers.
6. Jay Z – 40/40 Club, New York City
Open for more than a decade, Jay Z’s 40/40 Club in New York City is a 12,000 square feet, high-end sports bar that doubles as a nightclub and hot dining spot. The Club got its name from a baseball feat that only four players in history have achieved – that of hitting 40 home runs and stealing 40 bases in a single season.
The luxurious venue is the perfect place to head if you’re either a sports lover or want to live an upscale experience. It features gold baseball bats on the walls, chandeliers hung from gold cables and stacks of gold Champagne bottles around the bar, as well as box-style seating and private rooms, fitted with billiard tables and sporting memorabilia. The 40/40 Club serves upscale American sports bar cuisine such as Buffalo wings, southern fried shrimp, turkey sliders and braised beef short ribs.
5. Bon Jovi – Soul Kitchen, New Jersey
Well-known rocker Jon Bon Jovi opened his “pay-what-you-can” charitable restaurant in 2011, in a former auto body shop in central New Jersey. The Soul Kitchen Community Restaurant, run by the JBJ Soul Foundation, is a venue with no prices on the menu – instead, diners can simply donate what they choose to (or can afford to) pay for their meal, or are able to participate in volunteer work at the venue in exchange for their food.
The restaurant’s meals, service and decor rivals that of its competitors in its trendy Red Bank location, so while it is run as a not-for-profit, you can rest assured that the quality is still top notch. To boot, many of the ingredients for meals come straight from the herb and vegetable garden outside the eatery’s doors. This is the venue to dine at when you’re looking for a feel-good dining option in New Jersey.
4. Michael Jordan – The Steak House, New York City
Retired basketball sports star, Michael Jordan used his popular brand name to branch out into a number of food businesses as part of the Cornerstone Restaurant Group. One of the Group’s most well-regarded establishments is Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C. Named after the athlete and designed to reflect his sense of style, the venue is located on the balcony of architectural landmark, the Grand Central Terminal. If you’re a train or history buff then you’ll love this venue. The restaurant, created in 1998, pays homage to luxurious train travel and has a layout that’s reminiscent of a dining car.
The menu features a selection of steaks, seafood and classic dishes, as well as a number of “Historic Cocktails” that are named after certain trains or routes once traveled. The steakhouse has been awarded two stars by The New York Times and classified by iconic reviewer Ruth Reichl as a venue that has “invented a new kind of celebrity restaurant”.
3. Ryan Gosling – Tagine, Los Angeles
While he grew up in Canada, this Hollywood heartthrob decided to put his money where his mouth is, so to speak, at Los Angeles-based restaurant Tagine. The restaurant is located in Beverly Hills and serves up modern Moroccan cuisine from a head chef that Gosling first met, courtesy of catered food. Upon trying some of the chef’s food, he commented that it was “food he would eat everyday for the rest of his life”. The two became good friends and not long after, upon finding there was a lack of L.A. venues that made customers feel warm and satisfied, they opened Tagine. The restaurant is fitted out with plush banquettes, handmade mirrors, black and white photos by portraitist Dan Winters and flickering candles.
2. Eva Longoria – SHe by Morton’s, Las Vegas
Previously one of the Desperate Housewives, Eva Longoria has gone on to create what is labelled a “female-friendly boutique steakhouse” located within The Shops at Crystals at Aria Las Vegas. The new restaurant opened in 2013 (replacing her previous establishment Beso) and combines fine dining with fashion and music. She is a partnership between Morton’s and Longoria and the space features private dining rooms; an indoor/outdoor lounge; runway fashion shows held during meals; and inviting decor.
Female diners are also well-catered to with smaller portion sizes, and mirrors placed on dessert menus to make reapplying lipstick easy and convenient. The fit-out is also opulent and intimate, with rich textures such as alligator, cork, crystals, internally lit screens and embossed metallic wall coverings.
1. Robert De Niro – Nobu, New York City
While Robert De Niro is a co-founder of a multitude of restaurants, the first Nobu restaurant in New York is the most renowned. The actor invested in and co-founded the flagship restaurant of Chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa after having discovered his talents at earlier venue Matsuhisa. De Niro urged his friend to create a flagship restaurant in New York City and the venue opened in 1994.
Nobu New York serves up innovative, modern Japanese cuisine in the suburb of Tribeca and has been a hit pretty much since it first opened. The establishment has gone on to receive rave reviews and been awarded three stars from The New York Times, plus a Michelin star.
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