The rise of restaurants owned by celebrities has continued, matching the rise of information and technology. Celebrity chefs, in particular, have enjoyed popularity as their talents have been displayed on television shows which have evolved into entire networks devoted to food. Passionate folks who collected recipes and cookbooks in the past now have access to amazing chefs and culinary experts who demonstrate not only their favorite recipes, but how to cook them properly. Franchising intellectual property related to food, and eateries has made the best celebrity chefs and chef personalities very wealthy.
This massive shift in the way people think about food has not gone unnoticed by celebrities who are not chefs. Sports stars, TV and movie stars, real estate moguls, and entrepreneurs in all walks of business recognize that restaurants which prove to be successful are excellent alternative income streams. They are also wonderful pursuits for celebrities who have a passion for good food, and simply want to contribute to society by using their fortunes to sponsor excellence and meet the needs of the hungry around the world.
Of course, it is well known that restaurants are hard work, require extensive and specific industry related business intelligence and often fail miserably. That’s part of the reason why many celebs choose to invest in successful food or beverage franchises rather than start-up establishments. Some of the most profitable fast food chains and supermarket sports beverages are actually owned by leading sports and music stars. But, the desire to nest in a particular spot and welcome visitors still remains strong in many, and some very famous stars have put their dreams and their money into some wonderful local spots with worldwide prestige, financial success and longevity.
Here’s a list of ten voted by experts and diners as being tops.
1. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay – 68 Royal Hospital Road Chelsea, London
This is Zagat’s Top-Rated Celebrity Owned Restaurant. The restaurant holds three coveted Michelin stars, which it has held for longer than 12 years, and is considered to have no rivals in terms of London fine dining. Only the freshest and most fine seasonal products are used to create the menus, using both classic and contemporary techniques.
The space is intimate, with seating for just 45. It is the first established which Ramsay alone owns, and opened in 1998 when he was just 31 years old. There is a seasonal selection of menu items, offered as three dinner courses priced at $143.00 per person. Wine is by the glass, half bottles or magnums, and Champagne is offered. There is also a three course lunch menu offered at $84.00 per person.
There are 14 restaurants in London which comprise the Gordon Ramsay Group, and in addition, there are 30 more around the globe, with a total of 6 Michelin stars. Gordon Ramsay is a consummate and precise chef who has become an international celebrity chef, teaching the best culinary practices to his students, and traveling around the world to improve restaurants and hotels which are failing.
- French Cuisine
- Chef Patron Clare Smyth, the first female to hold three Michelin stars in the U.K. has done so at this restaurant for over a decade, and will be succeeded soon by another of Ramsey’s students.
- Zagat Review: Food- 4.8, Service – 4.8
2. Nobu New York – 105 Hudson Street, New York, New York
Nobu New York is a partnership venture of Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro, Meir Teper, and Drew Nieporent, restaurateur. The restaurant opened in 1994, and features the innovative cuisine of Chef Nobu, who not only has classical training in sushi preparation, but studied food in Argentina and Peru. His reflect his global travels and earned Nobo New York a prestigious Michelin star and the respected New York Times three stars. Recent reviewers who dined at the restaurant noted its reputation for being expensive, but delicious cuisine well worth the price. Dining for two averages anywhere from $250 to $500. There are many choices of small plates, and the Chef’s Choice Omakase menu offered until 2PM at $75 per person. Desserts average about $13 per person.
- Japanese Cuisine and Sushi
- Executive Chef Ricky Estrellado
- Zagat Review: Food-4.7, Service- 4.4
3. Del Posto – 85 10th Avenue – Chelsea, New York City, New York
This New York Times Critics’ Pick restaurant is owned by celebrity chef Mario Batali and Joseph and Lidia Bastianich. It opened in 2005 with a goal of providing a place which would honor Italian cuisine. The building is 24,000 square feet of marble and mahogany in traditional palazzo architecture. It is the first New York Times four-star restaurant since 1974.
The menu offers bistro options, with diners ordering off the menu. There is also a five course dinner for $95 per person, and a traditional seven-course meal for $125 per person, and this menu includes foods from around the entirety of Italy.
- Italian Cuisine
- Chef Mark Ladner
- Zagat Review: Food-4.7, Service- 4.7
4. Maude – 212 South Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, California
Celebrity Chef Curtis Stone’s dream restaurant focuses on a set menu each month, inspired by one seasonal ingredient, used in nine courses. January 2016 featured the carrot, February 2016 featured the potato, and so on. L.A. Weekly voted the restaurant the best in Los Angeles for 2015. There are just 25 seats at the venue. Each nine course meal is priced at about $125 per person, with the parsnip month priced at $90 and the white truffle month of November priced at $375, but each guest who returns is often welcomed by name. It is a narrow dining room, with décor of white subway tiles, and the only sign which announces its presence is the letter M on the front door handle. The restaurant has gathered a cult foodie following filled with diners who are curious to know what Stone will do with each month’s ingredient. It is often nearly impossible to get reservations.
- American Cuisine
- Zagat Review: Food- 4.6, Service – 4.6
5. RPM Italian – 52 West Illinois River North, Chicago, Illinois
The menu features dishes which guests are welcomed to share. This venue is a favorite with foodies and people looking for a lovely spot to host a special occasion, or extend the evening out with a bit to eat. The Chicago RPM is one of three restaurants in a marketing chain owned by Bill and Giuliana Rancic. Their partners include Molly Melman and R.J. Jerrod. This venue features over a dozen pastas made fresh every day, wild seafood and fish, and slowly roasted meats. Prices average $30 or less per person.
- Italian Cuisine
- Chef Doug Psaltis
- Zagat Review: Food-4.5, Service- 4.5
- Open Table Review: 4.7 Overall
6. Babbo – 110 Waverly Place, Greenwich Village, New York City
Legendary Iron Chef Mario Batali and partner Joe Bastianich opened this amazing restaurant in 1998. It remains a beloved spot for special events of all kinds. The three-star dining experience draws people due to its deliciousness, epic wine list and attentive service. Prices average over $50 per person. Each month, the restaurant features a different region of Italy, focusing on the best recipes of each.
- 21st Century Italian American Cuisine
- Chef Mario Batali
- Pastry Chef Rebecca DeAngelis
- Wine Director and General Manager Michael Acheson
- Open Table Review: 4.5 Overall Rating
7. Alma Nove – 22 Shipyard Drive, Hingham, MA
Executive Chef Paul Wahlburg founded Alma Nove with his brothers Mark and Donnie, joined by Ed St. Croix, a family friend. The 143-seat waterfront restaurant offers fresh seafood, pasta, antipasti and grilled chops. The lounge and bar area adjacent are popular for meetings with friends, and when the weather is clement, guests come to sit outdoors, watch the sunset and enjoy drink sand small plates of delicious morsels. This Best of Boston award winner for 2011 and 2013 offers delicious cocktails along with great food. It is located in Hingham Shipyard south of Boston, a part of a redevelopment. Prices average $30 and less per person.
- Mediterranean and Italian Cuisine
- Zagat Review: Food – 4.5, Service 4.5
- Open Table Review: 4.3 Overall Rating
8. Do Hwa – 55 Carmine Street, West Village, New York
Quentin Tarantino first invested in this authentic home style Korean restaurant with Jenny Kwak and her family because of his great love for Asian food, and because it is an amazing place for delicious food. Foodies come to enjoy seasonal, home-made kimchi, Korean barbecue, spicy squid and seafood pancakes. Prices average below $30 per person. Lunch and dinner, takeout, happy hour, delivery and a full bar menu fill out the available dining options.
- Korean Cuisine
- Chef Myung Ja Kwak
- Zagat Review: Food- 4.3, Service -4.0
- Open Table Rating: 4.6 Overall
9. Zoom – 660 Main Street, Park City, Utah
Robert Redford opened his restaurant in 1995. Zoom features locally sourced foods, served in a communal space focusing on good conversation. The restaurant is housed in the Union Pacific Railroad station which had been not used since the 1970s. Prices per person average $30 and less. Most people who have dined at Zoom enjoy its hearty, sophisticated American foods. Ninety-two percent of Open Table diners would recommend this restaurant to their friends. Zoom is part of Sundance Mountain Resort, which is a planned community purchased in 1969 and carefully developed by Robert Redford, who sought to preserve the historic picturesque canyon for the future. Zoom is a popular Park City dining location.
- American Cuisine
- Open Table Rating: 4.4 Overall
10. Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C. – 23 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York City, New York
Michael Jordan’s world class steakhouse is located in the Grand Central Terminal at the West and North balconies. It is considered to be one of the finest on Manhattan, noted for its eclectic menu of spirits, wines and first class menu items. Prices range from $31 to $50 per person. It is a popular location for gathering to share food and conversation, in a unique location, and often enjoyed by tourists.
- Steakhouse Cuisine
- Open Table Rating: 4.2 Overall