September 23, 2021

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Foodies welcome

30 Restaurants and Bars Backed by Celebrities

Wahlburgers

Michelle M./Yelp

Besides acting, sports, or modeling, celebrities love to have side businesses, especially restaurants (as was the case with tennis superstar Naomi Osaka, who became an investor in Sweetgreen) and bars. Sometimes a celebrity sees a good opportunity to make an investment and is less involved with the business, but other times the restaurant is conceived and designed to a celebrity’s exact specifications. The next time you’re in the mood to try a celebrity-approved meal or cocktail, head to one of these famous bars and restaurants that are or have been associated with the stars — whom you might even see there. We’ve noted the restaurants that are waiting to reopen when the coronavirus crisis fades, but it’s smart to check ahead of time to make sure any restaurant is able to serve you.

Related: Iconic Restaurants That the Pandemic Has Closed Permanently

House of Blues Barbecue

Joani O./Yelp

Who: Dan Aykroyd

Where: Multiple locations
The House of Blues was co-founded in 1992 by “Blues Brothers” legend Dan Aykroyd, along with Hard Rock Cafe co-founder Isaac Tigrett. The first HOB opened in Cambridge, Massachusetts, of all places and likely not the first place that comes to mind when you think of blues music. Other House of Blues music-and-dining venues followed in major cities like Dallas and, of course, Chicago. Menus at the HOBs lean heavily on soulful Southern favorites like barbecue, shrimp and grits, and jambalaya. Aykroyd is also a “booze brother,” launching Crystal Head Vodka in 2008.

Trejo's tacos

Trejo’s Tacos/Yelp

Who: Danny Trejo
Where: Multiple locations
Favorite action movie star and villain Danny Trejo has a number of taco joints in the Los Angeles area. Trejo’s Tacos serves up tacos, burritos, bowls, and quesadillas in a fast casual setting. Trejo’s favorite thing on the menu is the vegan roasted cauliflower taco topped with cashew cream.

Related: 27 Tasty Taco Places Across the Country

Margaritaville

Figue F./Yelp

Who: Jimmy Buffett
Where: Multiple locations
Based in the hit song of the same name, Margaritaville is Jimmy Buffett’s restaurant and bar chain where you can drink your cares away. It’s probably familiar to anyone who’s been on a cruise; it’s in many port stops, including Jamaica, Key West, and Grand Cayman (and even has restaurants on a couple of cruise ships). Munch on fresh guacamole while sipping margaritas from a souvenir cup.

Related: Iconic Musicians Who Are Back on the Road This Year

Chris M./Yelp

Chris M./Yelp

Who: Tiger Woods
Where: Jupiter, Florida
After spending so much time on the road golfing, Tiger Woods wanted to open a restaurant and sports bar in his home of Jupiter. The Woods is a sleek space that puts plenty of TVs above the bar so diners can relax with a bourbon and catch the Masters and other tournaments. Steaks, ribs, and seafood such as lobster rolls and seared ahi tuna make up the majority of the menu. Woods, who was severely injured in a car accident this year, is also a partner in a new project: PopStroke, a golf and casual-dining venture that has broken ground in Sarasota, Florida.


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Naomi Osaka Bowl

Sweetgreen

Who: Naomi Osaka

Where: Multiple locations

The 23-year-old tennis champion made headlines about a month after Sweetgreen, a healthy fast-casual restaurant chain, announced Osaka would be its youngest investor ever as well as the company’s first national athlete ambassador. Osaka pulled out of the French Open, a decision which came after she chose not to do press conferences due to her longtime battle with depression and anxiety. Tournament officials announced plans to fine her for refusing to do press with more serious consequences in the works. Sweetgreen tweeted in defense of Osaka: “Our partnership with Naomi Osaka is rooted in wellness in all its forms. We support her in furthering the conversation around mental health and are proud to have her part of the Sweetgreen team.”

Related: The 25 Best-Paid Athletes in the World

JBJ Soul Kitchen, Red Bank and Toms River, New Jersey

Wing L./Yelp

Who: Jon Bon Jovi
Where: Red Bank and Toms River, New Jersey
Run by the nonprofit Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, JBJ Soul Kitchen is a community restaurant where everyone is served, regardless of their ability to pay. There are no set prices, only a suggested donation amount of $20 for the three-course meal — and this isn’t a typical soup kitchen menu: baked salmon, wild mushroom risotto, and pork loin with squash are some of the options. Volunteering to cover your meal is a popular way to give back.

Related: 36 Longest Celebrity Marriages

I Love This Bar & Grill

Daniel G./Yelp

Who: Toby Keith
Where: Oklahoma City and Thackerville, Oklahoma
Named after Toby Keith’s song “I Love This Bar,” ILTB & Grill has two locations in Oklahoma. Cowboy and Tex-Mex cuisine such as calf fries (fried bull testicles!) and taco salad are on the menu, along with a couple of Keith’s favorites: a fried bologna sandwich and a prime-rib sandwich. U.S. service members get a free cheeseburger, fries, and drink.

Related: 30 Historic Dive Bars Across the Country

1000 North

Todd R./Yelp

Who: Michael Jordan
Where: Jupiter, Florida
Michael Jordan owns a number of restaurants — multiple Michael Jordan’s Steak Houses and Michael Jordan’s Restaurant — but this is more low key. 1000 North has the upscale, exclusive feel of a country club with four dining and lounge areas. If the prices in the main restaurant for steaks and lobster risotto are too high, try the Tavern with its small menu of burgers and seafood.

Related: 22 Places to Hang Out Where You’re Most Likely to See a Celebrity

Nic & Norman's

Jay B./Yelp

Who: Norman Reedus
Where: Senoia, Georgia
Scruffy star of “The Walking Dead” Norman Reedus teamed up with the show’s executive producer and director Greg Nicotero to open Nic & Norman’s in the town where the series is filmed. They’ve since added a location in Chattanooga, Tennessee, too. Though you definitely can’t find zombie food here, you can eat American favorites such as brisket nachos and “Norm’s Pick”: a black-bean burger with beets, avocado, and spinach.

Walton's Fancy and Staple

Irma Abraham G./Yelp

Who: Sandra Bullock
Where: Austin, Texas
A combination deli, cafe, bakery, and floral shop called Walton’s Fancy and Staple is owned by Sandra Bullock. The food menu is pretty substantial for a cafe, including a pressed roast beef and blue cheese sandwich, short ribs with sweet corn spoon bread, and crab cake Benedict. There’s a happy hour menu for deal seekers too, with $5 snacks and $6 cocktails.

Related: Which Celebrities Besides Tom Hanks Have Dual Citizenship?

40/40 Club

Joy D./Yelp

Who: Jay-Z
Where: New York
Named for the elite club of MLB players who have had 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in a season, Jay-Z’s recently reopened 40/40 Club feels almost as exclusive. The sports bar is swanky and shiny, with multiple levels, lounges, and semi-private spaces. Wings, sliders, and platters of nachos for sharing taste even better with bottle service or an expensive bottle of champagne.

Related: 25 of the Most Exclusive Bars and Restaurants in America

Wahlburgers

Michelle M./Yelp

Who: Mark and Donnie Wahlberg
Where: Multiple locations
The two most famous of the Wahlberg brothers, Mark and Donnie, opened the first Wahlburgers location outside Boston in 2011 with their chef brother, Paul. There are now some 50 locations across the country, with more opening every year. Grab a triple-decker burger “just like the house we grew up in!” or a sloppy joe made with their mom’s recipe.

Related: Where to Find a Good Cheap Burger In Every State

Cabo Wabo Cantina

Shawn H./Yelp

Who: Sammy Hagar
Where: Multiple locations
Cabo Wabo Cantina was started in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in 1990 as a tequila bar for Sammy Hagar to play some shows at his favorite vacation site. Since then, it’s grown in size and popularity with locations in Hollywood and Las Vegas. Seafood and Mexican factor heavily into the menu, with options such as lobster burritos, coconut shrimp, and Sammy’s shrimp — sauteed with garlic, serrano chile, and Cabo Wabo tequila.

Nobu

Geana N./Yelp

Who: Robert De Niro
Where: Multiple locations
Robert De Niro has been in the restaurant business for decades, opening Tribeca Grill in New York City in 1990. But it’s Nobu that’s perhaps his most famous foray into dining. The acclaimed Japanese restaurant has dozens of locations worldwide, including in Tokyo, Dubai, and Monte Carlo. Feast on fresh sushi by the piece, or try chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s signature black cod with miso.

FGL House

Elizabeth C./Yelp

Who: Florida Georgia Line
Where: Nashville, Tennessee
If a country band such as Florida Georgia Line is going to open a restaurant, they may as well do it in Nashville. The FGL House is like one big party, with daily live music, a rooftop patio and bar, and TVs for catching sports. The menu is full of Southern favorites such as shrimp and grits and fried oysters, and there’s plenty of whiskey to go around, including the band’s own Old Camp Whiskey.

Related: Celebs Who Own Beer, Wine, and Spirits Brands

Tagine

Cathy C./Yelp

Who: Ryan Gosling
Where: Beverly Hills, California
An event that chef Ben Benameur catered in Hollywood brought his cooking to the attention of star Ryan Gosling. The actor loved the chef’s Moroccan food, saying it was “food he could eat every day for the rest of his life,” so they opened up Tagine together. With a recommendation such as that, choose the chef’s tasting menu and let his skills shine.

Related: 30 Famous People Who Were Kicked Out of School

Magnolia Table

Lyn M./Yelp

Who: Chip and Joanna Gaines
Where: Waco, Texas
HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines fixed up a diner with a century-long history and named it Magnolia Table. The breakfast- and lunch-only restaurant uses produce and eggs from Joanna’s garden, along with family favorites such as Chip’s ham sandwich on a croissant with eggs and cheese. Naturally, the restaurant is extremely Instagram-worthy.

Laughing Man Cafe, New York

Michelle L./Yelp

Who: Hugh Jackman
Where: New York
Inspired by a trip to Ethiopia where he met a coffee farmer named Dukale, Hugh Jackman opened the Laughing Man Cafes. He donates all his profits in the business to the Laughing Man Foundation, which helps coffee farmers by providing education and housing resources. By ordering a cup of cappuccino or matcha latte, customers help support coffee farmers around the world.

Related: The 58 Coolest Coffee Shops in America

Whiskey Row

Viviana P./Yelp

Who: Dierks Bentley
Where: Multiple locations
With three locations in Arizona and one in Nashville, Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row is a gastropub and modern country bar. The original Scottsdale location is a restaurant by day and nightclub in the evening, complete with dance floor, 24-foot TV, and bottle service. Besides the cocktail menu, whiskey shows up in a number of dishes, including the burger topped with whiskey barbecue sauce and honey-roasted jalapeños.

Chicken + Beer

Michael B./Yelp

Who: Ludacris
Where: Atlanta
Rapper Ludacris is setting a higher standard for airport food with Chicken + Beer in the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The spot is named after his album, “Chicken-n-Beer,” and delivers on its name. Fried catfish with black-eyed peas or Luda’s chicken and waffles with bourbon maple syrup are way better than anything you may be getting on a plane, so plan some time in your schedule to make this a stop.

Related: Best Fried Chicken in Every State

Swan and Bar Bevy

Christine C./Yelp

Who: Pharrell Williams
Where: Miami
Pharrell Williams teamed up with a Miami restaurateur to open swanky restaurant and second-story bar Swan and Bar Bevy late in 2018. Its chef, Jean Imbert, is a celebrity in his own right, winning a season of the European “Top Chef.” If you’d like to try Pharrell’s favorite dish, order “Corn Corn Corn,” made with polenta and popcorn.

Clutch

Tommy T./Yelp

Who: Jon Huertas
Where: Venice, California
“This Is Us” star Jon Huertas owns Clutch in this famous beach town. The laid-back joint features a mix of Southern smoked barbecue and Cali-Mex cuisines and is a favorite hangout for motorcycle and classic car enthusiasts. Tacos made with grilled tri-tip steak or 10-hour pulled pork go well with sweet potato fries and poblano cheese grits on the side.

Back 40, North Kingston, Rhode Island

Kayla F./Yelp

Who: Olivia Culpo
Where: North Kingstown, Rhode Island
Model, actress, and former Miss America and Miss Universe Olivia Culpo opened Back 40 south of Providence in 2017. It’s built to look like a barn and is cozy inside, complete with a large stone fireplace in the bar area and Americana on the walls. The menu focuses on comfort food, including seafood potpie, prime-rib poutine, and doughnut bread pudding for dessert.

Related: The Best Spot for Comfort Food in Every State

Saints & Sinners

Lynn S./Yelp

Who: Channing Tatum
Where: New Orleans
Note: Closed for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis
Styled after the bordellos and burlesque halls of New Orleans’ past, Saints & Sinners is owned by Channing Tatum. Besides a food menu of NOLA favorites such as crawfish boils and whiskey bread pudding, there’s a long list of cocktails. Both the Sinner and Saint punch cocktails come in souvenir glasses in case you’d like to take a little bit of Tatum home with you.

Related: 26 Best Cheap Or Free Things To Do In New Orleans

Mermaid Oyster Bar

Lei C./Yelp

Who: Zach Braff
Where: New York
“Scrubs” funny man Zach Braff opened the Mermaid Oyster Bar in 2009 with a high school friend and chef. The small, nautically themed restaurant and bar features at least six varieties of oysters every day. Other seafood options include a raw bar platter, Maryland crab cakes, and lobster knuckles swimming in garlic butter.

Related: The Best Seafood Restaurant for Takeout in Every State

The Eating Establishment

Lala P./Yelp

Who: Ty Burrell
Where: Park City, Utah
The Eating Establishment, originally opened in 1972, was bought not long ago by a hospitality group that includes Ty Burrell of “Modern Family” and members of his extended family. They made a few changes, such as adding a bar, but kept the breakfast-all-day style. They serve hearty fare to fuel up before skiing, including biscuits and gravy, corned beef hash, and buttermilk pancakes.

The Polo Bar, New York

Elaine H./Yelp

Who: Ralph Lauren
Where: New York
You can pretend you’re high society with food from the chic confines of The Polo Bar from designer Ralph Lauren. Saddle leather, wood paneling, and dark plaid pillows are the norm in this “homage to the distinguished sporting lifestyle long synonymous with the Ralph Lauren brand.” The beef served here comes from Lauren’s Colorado ranch, so the 22-ounce bone-in ribeye is a must. Though the dining room remains closed, the venue is currently offering private dining experiences for groups up to 20 persons in its ground-floor bar and clubroom.

Related: 25 Steakhouses That Are Worth the Splurge

Little Pine

Natalie T./Yelp

Who: Moby
Where: Los Angeles
Musician Moby is famously a vegan and an animal rights activist, so opening a plant-based restaurant was a no-brainer. Little Pine donates 100% of its profits to animal rights organizations, so you can feel really good about eating pan-fried gnocchi with white wine sauce and gingerbread cheesecake.

Sweet Chick

Whitney G./Yelp

Who: Nas
Where: Multiple locations
Sweet Chick opened in 2013, but it wasn’t until 2015 that rapper Nas invested. Since then, the restaurant has opened locations in his home borough of Queens as well as Los Angeles. The Southern-inspired menu features crawfish hush puppies, deviled eggs, and fried chicken with six different types of waffle.

Vanderpump Cocktail Garden

Frances T./Yelp

Who: Lisa Vanderpump
Where: Las Vegas
If visiting L.A. spots highlighted by “Vanderpump Rules” such as Sur isn’t in the cards, there’s an LVP restaurant in Vegas to try: Vanderpump Cocktail Garden, in Caesars Palace, has the same feel as the L.A. spots, including lots of pink and probably plenty of bachelorette parties. Table reservations for four are $505 on weekends. The Bravo star is also planning a French-themed venue, Vanderpump à Paris, in Vegas, as well.

Related: 20 Bucket List Restaurants in Las Vegas