Even though most celebrities are gaunt enough to make you wonder when their last good meal was, it seems that nowadays everyone with a movie credit to their name or a record contract under their belt owns an eatery. Everyone knows about the Hard Rock Cafe, the ill-fated Planet Hollywood, whatever the hell that one supermodel restaurant was, and every restaurant owned by a rapper or Ashton Kutcher, but here are 6 establishments that are owned by celebrities you may not expect to be culinary investors.
1) Tribeca Grill in New York City, NY – Co-Invested by Lou Diamond Phillips
The Tribeca Grill is accredited with helping to put the Tribeca neighborhood on the map. Hailed for its extensive wine list and dishes like herbed ricotta raviolini and lavender scented rack of Colorado lamb, the restaurant is owned by Robert DeNiro and boasts a slew of celebrity investors, including Bill Murray, Christopher Walken, Sean Penn, Ed Harris…and Lou Diamond Phillips. That’s right, the star of Bats and every other Sci-Fi Original movie you come across on a Saturday night is a co-investor of one of the hottest restaurants in NYC. It looks like he put that sweet La Bamba paycheck to good use.
2) Kona Kitchen in Seattle, WA – Owned by Yuji Okumoto
According to the restaurant’s website, Kona Kitchen “is a casual family dining experience where you’ll find a tempting array of Hawaiian and Japanese dishes prepared with the care of a home-cooked meal.” The menu consists of casual fare like katsu chicken, chicken-fried steak and Hawaiian style BBQ chicken, but what sets this restaurant apart from the others is that it’s owned by Yuji Okumoto, best known as Ralph Macchio’s foe in The Karate Kid Part II. We’re assuming that Chozen was so disgraced from the Laruso ass kicking (slash nose honking) he received in the movie that he fled to the Pacific Northwest to retire and serve up Kalua pig and cabbage to hungry Seattleites.
3) Luahn Restaurant in New York City, NY – Owned by Stephen Baldwin
Third (or fourth, depending on how highly you rate Daniel) rate Baldwin brother and born-again Christian Stephen was the owner of a restaurant called Alaia that eventually became Luahn, a restaurant I know very little about because I can’t find a website or any reviews. After poking around in Google I can deduce that it is a Mediterranean/seafood restaurant, but other than that this place is just about as puzzling as how Bio-Dome managed to make nearly $14 million at the box office.
4) Ana Mandara in San Francisco, CA – Owned by Don Johnson and Cheech Marin
Cheech Marin and Don Johnson must have had one spiritual experience together on the set of Nash Bridges, because they decided to open up an upscale Vietnamese restaurant in Rice-a-Roni-ville. The website contains a page of exposition about some Vietnamese princess with “captivating beauty and endless grace” who ended up getting into a love triangle and subsequent Flavor of Love-esque spat with a king’s former wife and had to flee to somewhere for some reason, and there’s something about a turtle and a crane, and…okay, we stopped reading (and caring), but at least the menu looks pretty good: seared foi gras with truffle oil and fresh mango, claypot fish, and seared dayboat scallops means I might be willing to forgive Don Johnson for Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man.
5) Mulberry Street Pizza in Beverly Hills, CA – Owned by Cathy Moriarty
Cathy Moriarty isn’t exactly a household name, but you might remember her in such roles as “Sylvester’s mother” in Kindergarten Cop, Harvey Keitel’s wife in Cop Land and a huge bitch in Casper. Now Ms. Moriarty spends her days kneading dough and tossing ingredients onto New York-style pizza pies. She even has “Cathy’s Homemade Cakes” on the menu. Not a bad way to pay the bills, if you ask me, although it’s probably less of a career high than appearing in Raging Bull (though that depends on how much you love New York-style pizza).
6) Shin in Los Angeles, CA – Owned by Gerard Butler
Apparently Leonidas loves him some Korean BBQ. When Gerard Butler’s not busy kicking dudes down wells and hauling kettle bells up and down football fields, he’s dropping $25 for all-you-can-eat goodness at Shin, a Korean restaurant in LA. I’m not exactly sure what possessed a Scottish actor to open up a Korean joint–I guess he has a soft spot for bulgogi with a side of kimchi.
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