Food Of The Famous: Star Owned Restaurants We Love
These days, celebrities all seem to be broadening their brand and jumping into new business ventures daily. From perfume lines, to clothing lines and video games, actors and artists are all looking for the next best thing. It’s no wonder that many celebs have jumped into the restaurant business. Across the country, famous folks like Robert De Niro, Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake are putting down their Oscars, Grammy’s and People Choice Awards, and taking on the role of restaurant owner.
Check out these hot spots around the county, and the famous face behind the kitchen…
This Italian venture from actor and longtime restaurateur Robert De Niro has the ideal combination of comfort while drenched in star power. Its tucked-away Melrose Avenue location offers shelter from nosy paparazzi and boasts a humble and devoted staff. Rihanna is a fan of the pasta, and agents and producers are more likely to attend for family dinners rather than power lunches. Historic moment: Simon Cowell, Ryan Seacrest and Randy Jackson once split the check here, with three American Express Black Cards.
Rapper Jay-Z plans to bring his 40/40 restaurant and bar franchise to London next year in a deal which will team him up with England and Chelsea soccer player Ashley Cole. Currently he runs a chain of 40/40 clubs in four U.S. cities: Atlantic City, Chicago, Atlanta, and New York. The NVA Entertainment Group (NVA), which brokered the multi-million dollar deal, said that The 40/40 London will be the first project of a partnership between Jay-Z and Cole that will include a number of new ventures. “London is one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world and the perfect location for our new venue,” Jay-Z said
“Desperate Housewives” star, actress Eva Longoria, opened her own restaurant in 2008. It’s called Beso (which translates to kiss in Spanish), and the Latin themed eatery is located right on famous Hollywood Boulevard. It’s also right on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (between the stars of Elizabeth Taylor and Lassie). Eva explained, “I live literally down the street, so I could walk here every night.” Eva has also paired up with award winning, celebrity chef Todd English of the restaurant Olives, who stars in the TV shows “Cooking With Todd English” and “Food Trip with Todd English”
In 1994, a culinary powerhouse was born when Robert DeNiro partnered with Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa to open a modern Japanese restaurant in Tribeca. While there are currently 21 Nobu restaurants around the globe, the flagship New York City location remains the top-ranked among them for its dazzling array of sushi and sashimi, combined with innovative entrees like the black cod with miso.
Although basketball icon Michael Jordan owns several restaurants and steakhouses in the greater New York area, his Chicago spot is a slam-dunk with travelers for its sophisticated cuisine. Located in the West Loop neighborhood, unique entrees include chorizo stuffed squid, bacon-wrapped rabbit saddle and English pea ravioli, plus a highly rated bar menu for those watching their wallets.
Gladys Knight and Ron Winans’ Chicken & Waffles
Inspired by the legendary Wells Supper Club in Harlem, Gladys Knight, along with her son Shanga Hankerson and friend Ron Winans, opened their first chicken and waffle joint in Atlanta in 1997. Now with four locations, the chain serves up soul food classics like shrimp and grits and fried green tomatoes, in addition to their namesake fried chicken and waffles.
Southern Hospitality BBQ
A native of Memphis, Tennessee, pop star Justin Timberlake’s latest restaurant venture Southern Hospitality brings his down-home roots and passion for barbeque to New York City. It’s no secret that Justin’s celebrity status attracts travelers to the restaurant, but tasty nibbles like fried pickles, dry rub ribs and pulled pork keep them coming back for more.