Dissatisfied with being the Grammy-Award-winning artist who has charted more solo songs than any other musician in the Billboard Hot 100 history (154), Drake decided it was time to follow another one of his passions: the restaurant business. Yes, it’s true; soon you will be able to smell the air that Drake has approved in Toronto’s Pick 6ix. While the details are still somewhat vague, we do know it’s being promoted as a “sports bar without the sports bar food,” which sounds like a great idea! Why follow the tried-and-tested formula? Why not do something completely against people’s comfort zone? No business has ever failed by giving the customer what they don’t want.
Pick 6ix has yet to open to the public, but when it does, you’ll be sure to wait in a huge queue with many other hungry people dying to spot a celebrity. What a wonderful night out that will be for you. In the meantime, let us look back at other famous people who ventured into the restaurant industry with varying degrees of success, as we remind ourselves why the phrase “don’t quit your day job” exists.
15. Hulk Hogan: Pastamania!
Well let me tell you something, brother! Just because you’re the most popular wrestling superstar of all time does not mean you can automatically piledrive yourself right into the bowl of success spaghetti. Hulk Hogan learned this the hard way when, back in 1995, he opened his Pastamania! restaurant in Minneapolis’ Mall of America. With such incredibly imaginative dish names such as the Hulk-U’s and the Hulk-A-Roos, it really shocked the world when the profits elbow dropped Hogan and pinned him down for the count. The establishment shut down within one year. But this did not stop the Hulkster from following his gut, as he found even greater success in his inspirational Hogan Energy drink and Walmart’s Hulkster Burger. Can The Rock smell what Hulk Hogan is cooking? Definitely not pasta anymore.
14. Jay-Z: The 40/40 Club
Musically, it’s fair to say that Jay-Z knows what he is doing. With over 100 million records sold, 21 Grammy Awards won, holding more #1 Billboard albums than any other solo artist ever (14), and often cited as one of the greatest MCs of all time, he’s done alright for himself. However, is he a good businessman? Well, yes. He was the president of Def Jam Recordings, he co-founded Roc-A-Fella Records, he founded the entertainment company Roc Nation, he founded the sports agency Roc Nation Sports, and he owns the streaming service Tidal. Fine. But what about the sports bar he opened in New York in 2003, The 40/40 Club? Surely that was a disaster? Actually, no, it’s doing just fine, I hear. That said, it’s also probably way overrated because I’m jealous. I’m jealous of Jay-Z’s $810 million net worth. Jealous that he’s married to Beyoncé. Jealous that I’m a terrible rapper.
13. Britney Spears: Nyla
The Britney Spears brand may boast itself as the eighth top-selling female artist of all time, but as far as non-music commitments go, her track record isn’t exactly encouraging. Let’s look at her marriage in 2004 to Jason Allen Alexander, which was annulled 55 hours later. At least her relationship with the New York restaurant Nyla lasted a little longer than that, as Britney signed the papers in June 2002, forked over a bunch of her hard-earned cash, then watched as the business crumbled into a pit of debt, cringed as they were slapped with multiple health code violations, and ultimately, decided to yank her name out of it like a bad tooth five months later. Britney cited “management’s failure to keep her fully apprised” as her reason, admirably adding that she wished “the restaurant and its current ownership continued success.” She then promptly ran away to kiss Madonna and smash a car door with an umbrella. Leave her alone!
12. Mark Wahlberg: Wahlburgers
Back when Mark Wahlberg was Marky Mark, he was an ex-convict with not a hope in the world. It’s inspirational how this fella cleaned himself up so well and starred in multiple great films, as well as many films that weren’t very good at all. Still, nobody could believe it when, in 2011, Mark opened a Boston burger diner with his two brothers. Does this man’s positive attitude towards success ever end? Does he even sleep? Hey, Mark, how about you leave some of that good fortune magic for us little people? But wait, hold on, it gets even more mind-blowing (if you can handle it). Since that time, 27 new locations have been announced, plus they even created a reality TV show about the place for 8 seasons! How stupid is TV these days? Isn’t Wahlburgers just about the dumbest name you’ve ever heard? You suck, Wahlberg.
11. Jennifer Lopez: Madre’s
The highest-paid Latin entertainer ever, J-Lo, has done a lot of genuinely impressive work over the course of her career; I enjoyed some of it. Nevertheless, when it came to her Latin cuisine endeavor with the Madre’s restaurant, its success was caught somewhere in the middle. By serving food based on her mother’s cooking, the venue’s opening night in 2002 was a smash success, with Lopez groupies flocking to get a taste of the meals which had helped the woman grow into such a superstar, hoping to digest a bit of that Lopez prosperity themselves. Unfortunately, this was short-lived, as the restaurant’s appeal (and profits) began to dwindle, eventually hanging on for dear life, and then falling down completely in 2008, six years after it opened—which is actually not bad by Californian standards. When asked for a comment, J-Lo assured everyone that, despite the setback, she was still Jenny from the block.
10. Naomi Campbell, Elle Macpherson, Claudia Schiffer, and Christy Turlington: The Fashion Café
When you think of models, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? That’s right! Food! Will somebody please feed these people? Which was the concept behind The Fashion Café, I think. Initially opening in 1995 in New York City, their business model was simple: plagiarize Planet Hollywood by using the faces of supermodels to entice patrons, replacing the celebrity memorabilia with the glamour of fashion attire, selling gimmicky items in an overpriced gift shop, and then maybe serving a meal once in a while. What could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot, as it turns out. Schiffer reportedly hated Campbell, and she withdrew. Their landlords went on record that the café owners were six months behind on their rent. And finally, the customers all agreed that looking at skinny girls ruined their appetite. Three years later, the establishment went bust, complete with charges of conspiracy, fraud, and money laundering. Forget the fashion police, someone call the real police! Those are legitimate felonies.
9. Justin Timberlake: Southern Hospitality
There’s no JT in BBQ, but that didn’t stop the multi-award winning singer/dancer/actor Justin Timberlake from bringing his sexy back all over your pulled pork and fried chicken. This business idea started in 2007 in New York, and thanks to the s*x symbol’s pop royalty status, fans were eager to line up and taste the food that Timberlake probably had nothing to do with. In fact, after political figure Steve Bannon held a fundraiser in the joint last year, people shouted at Justin on Twitter for hosting such an event, to which the musician defended himself by informing the world that he had not actually been involved with the restaurant since 2009, and his share of ownership had long since been bought out by his partners. Regardless, he still keeps his face hovering around the project, I assume because his fame is good for business and he probably receives a hefty check every time he does so.
8. Steven Spielberg: Dive!
In 1994, the highest-grossing director in history had an idea to open a simple little restaurant in California. His only requirements would be small, reasonable factors such as: it had to be shaped like a neon-yellow submarine; it had to make weird underwater sounds and random siren noises every now and then; and it had to be called Dive!, complete with the exclamation point, because with a name as assertive as that, there was no way anyone could make fun of it. As it turns out, this isn’t true, because watch as I make fun of it right now: you are aware that the word “dive” is slang for “a shabby or sleazy bar or similar establishment” right, Mr. Spielberg? Wait, I have a better joke: I heard the restaurant ultimately shut down five years later in 1999, what happened? Did your profits sink? Either way, Steven Spielberg is still immeasurably richer than me, so I’m basically just insulting myself, even his failures are more impressive than anything I’ve ever done in my worthless life.
7. Eva Longoria: SHe by Morton’s
You may think the capitalization is a typo, but no, this Las Vegas steakhouse was actually called SHe by Morton’s. I’m not entirely sure what the deeper meaning is there, but it might have had some gender background, a she/he type of differentiation, this theory is supported by the fact that every meal had a smaller portion size option to cater to “female customers.” Some hungry women were offended by this so-called sexist assumption of how much they were supposed to be eating, but surprisingly enough, this was the least of Eva’s problems. The biggest issue came when health inspectors discovered 32 food safety violations in the kitchen, and shut the restaurant down in 2014, less than two years after opening. Oh well, nothing lasts for Eva. I’m sure it won’t be long before this star comes up with a new idea. These jokes are getting desperate now. Desperate like a housewife.
6. Moby: Little Pine
Whilst it’s true that Moby’s dance music career has sold a cool 20 million records worldwide, his dedication to animal rights and the vegan movement is even more admirable. He compiled and published a collection of essays about the meat industry titled Gristle: From Factory Farms to Food Safety (Thinking Twice About the Meat We Eat) in 2010, and then in 2015, he opened Little Pine, a vegan bistro in Los Angeles that Moby runs personally. Furthermore, most of their ingredients are locally sourced and all profits go to animal organizations, so doesn’t the whole concept make you feel warm and fuzzy and morally superior inside? Yes, it does! The only problem came when people started calling it an excessively pompous Moby venture, with unsubstantial and uninspired dishes, whilst customers were surrounded by artsy books and the musician’s own nature photography work. So boring! Regardless, business is still up and running, so they’ve got to be doing something right. A moment’s applause for Moby, everyone.
5. Stephen and Billy Baldwin: Alaia
Two Baldwins are better than one, unless you’re talking about Alec Baldwin, because he’s better than Stephen and Billy put together easily. Regardless, the point is that these two brothers had much more united star power than they did individually, so we’re off to a good start, especially when considering that the 1999 Manhattan restaurant was named after Stephen’s then 7-year-old daughter, Alaia. So sweet! Unfortunately, the brothers learned the hard way that it takes more than two celebrity signatures and a well-meaning title to create a successful food joint. For example, you also need food. Upon realizing this mistake, the two Baldwin brothers changed the restaurant’s name to Luahn, then advertised it as a “sleek lounge” instead. Ta-da! No more need for food! That solves that problem! They closed down soon afterward.
4. Flavor Flav: Flav’s Fried Chicken
If I ever ate at Flav’s Fried Chicken joint, I would wait until my order was running late, and then I’d produce a massive clock from around my neck, tap on it impatiently, completely deadpan but hope everyone got the joke. This restaurant idea all started in Iowa, in January of 2011, when Public Enemy’s hype man was so confident about his “secret recipe” for chicken that he announced it would eventually be “as big as KFC”, which surprisingly, never happened. Instead, Flavor was disgusted to find an expired potato salad behind the counter during one of his visits, and overheard employees complaining that they hadn’t been paid yet. Mr. Flav grew concerned that this business was tarnishing his “reputation”, and he eventually decided to pull the Flav from Flav’s Fried Chicken, which meant the name of the restaurant was now Fried Chicken, and that would never work. It’s too obvious. In total, the restaurant was open for four months.
3. Toby Keith: I Love This Bar & Grill
Country star Toby Keith once went to a bar, and he loved it so much that he wrote a song dedicated to the unnamed place, calling it I Love This Bar. Then, Toby Keith loved the song he wrote so much that he opened a bar dedicated to the track, calling it I Love This Bar & Grill. With regular free live music and furniture shaped like guitars, it’s no wonder that the first 2005 Oklahoma branch flourished into a chain reaction, with new restaurants springing up all across America. Yes, everything seemed to be going perfectly well in Toby Keith’s world, except not really, because since 2014, around 20 of these locations have been shut down, reportedly $28.6 million in lawsuits are looming, and there is not a single Bar & Grill in the world which has lasted longer than seven years, many shutting down within months of opening. I imagine Toby doesn’t love it all that much anymore.
2. Suzanne Somers: Suzanne’s Kitchen
Three’s Company and Step by Step may have had some of the most memorable theme songs on the ’80s/’90s television scene, but this does not automatically mean that Suzanne Somers knows anything about opening a restaurant. Exhibit A: Suzanne’s Kitchen. On paper, the 2006 concept seemed revolutionary, opting to remove the middleman and allowing customers to pick their ingredients and prepare their meals in-store, just like they would at home, but for way more money. Sadly, the idea was a bit too much work for most people, and the kitchen was closed a year later, never to be heard from again. Well, except Suzanne did hear about it again, reminded of her failure when investor John Bouchillon sued her in 2010 for a reported $400,000, claiming this was the amount he lost in the deal. Thankfully, the lawsuit was dismissed the following year, so we can all sleep peacefully once again.
1. Lady Gaga: Joanne Trattoria
In all fairness, Joanne Trattoria is not really Lady Gaga’s endeavor, but rather, her parents’ New York food baby. However, that did not stop their daughter from doing everything she could to support them, from regularly showing up at the restaurant to generate some buzz, to even naming her 2016 album Joanne, which may or may not be a subtle advertising technique. Regardless, all of her millions of albums sold (27), millions of singles sold (146), and Grammys won (6), even Gaga’s accolades could not stop the health inspector from giving the restaurant a “B” grade after finding a rotten potato in a bucket of otherwise healthy potatoes. My theory is that Lady Gaga had purposefully placed that potato there herself, as part of some spud-dress experiment she was doing or something, I’m not actually sure, so don’t quote me on that. Anyways, all that matters is that Joanne Trattoria has been running strong since 2012, which is a lifetime in restaurant years, and roughly 41 in dog years.
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