by Anton Polouektov
Celebrities dabbling in the restaurant business is a common occurrence – from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Robert DeNiro to Justin Timberlake and Alice Cooper, the rich and famous from every arena of entertainment seem eager to dive headlong into the not-so-glamorous business of feeding hordes of ravenous customers and die-hard fans. Often, their efforts end in quagmire, but at other times, celebrity-owned restaurants transcend the label and become true staples, commanding respect from fans and foodies alike.
The past decade has seen a concerted effort by famous Black performers, actors and sports stars to secure a place in the sun for their own culinary undertakings and leave a lasting imprint on the restaurant industry. Many of those efforts have failed, like that of Usher’s The Grape and The Jackson’s Family foray named Katherine’s, in line with the low success rates of restaurants in general. The restaurants included on this list are ultimately survivors of the tough cuisine service industry. They range from swanky to plain, from modern to rustic, and, are part of the growing breed of restaurants owned by African-American celebrities.
The retired basketball legend’s flagship Manhattan restaurant, “Michael Jordan’s Steak House N.Y.C.,” offers an upscale, quintessentially American fine-dining experience complemented by an extensive selection of wines and spirits. The restaurant’s interior design reflects its haute cuisine focus – you’ll find no sports memorabilia or self-aggrandizing photographs here, only a sleek, stylish décor evoking Michael Jordan the Businessman, rather than Michael Jordan the Basketball Player. Few celebrity-owned restaurants are as ambitious in scale and price-point as Michael Jordan’s New York venture.