Restaurants Owned by Celebrities
Celebrities- they’re just like us.
Well, except for the pool, the servants, the collection of rare big cats and some even have their own restaurant. But, celebrities who own restaurants these days have it easy. They write a check and then just drop their car at the valet station and then swing by the kitchen to high-five the chef.
Celebrities from the good old days not only owned the joint, they worked to make it successful. How? By putting their name out front. Below are a few of our favorite restaurants owned by celebrities who clearly gave a damn about the product.
Our first two restaurants not only were celebrity owned, they were RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM EACH OTHER.
Each had a unique element that made them stand out. Cappuccino Restaurant made sure everyone knew who owned the joint- some of their ads said so right across the top: Cesar Romero eats here.
Yes, he ate there, but not for long. His involvement with the restaurant lasted less than a year. As 1972 turned to 1973, Romero was back planning his newest scheme to take control of Gotham City from that pesky Batman.
Alan Hale was a dedicated restaurateur. Not only was his name on the sign out front, Hale was often seen running around the dining room.
Hale also had his own corner on the menu:
And if that wasn’t enough, Hale was ever present, signing autographs, giving away his skipper’s hat he was wearing at that very moment, (he clearly was buying in bulk), he also referred to every customer as ‘Good Buddy.” Come on, now.
After getting out of the restaurant game, Hale got into the travel business. Alan Hale’s Quality and Leisure Travel Office booked sigh seeing cruises. Why you would book a cruise with a guy who didn’t have a great record behind the tiller doesn’t make sense to us, but it did to Hale, who worked there from 1982 until his death in 1990.
Johnny Carson briefly flirted with the chain concept. Unfortunately, “Here’s Johnny’s” didn’t last very long. Hey-OOOOOO
In an effort to include Burt Reynolds in as many articles as we can, we needed to tip our caps to the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theater. This place did double duty, not only could you order off Burt’s menu, you could then go see such stars as Tyne Daly, Martin Sheen and Sarah Jessica Parker perform on stage.
The theater was also home to the Burt Reynolds Institute for Theatrical Training, where students would get instruction by such luminaries as Liza Minelli and CHARLES NELSON RILLEY.
This next restaurant may have to be disqualified to be on this list.
The Lone Ranger Restaurant was a chain in the LA area and, apparently the food wasn’t memorable. But you know what was memorable? Clayton Moore appearing at a different restaurant EVERY DAMN WEEKEND. Yup, you could sit down, order yourself a Lone Ranger Burger and, while you waited, talk with the actual masked man himself. On top of signing autographs & taking pictures, Moore also gave some kids his own silver bullets.
So why might this have to be removed? Because, try as I might, I can’t find out whether Moore owned a stake in the chain. Hopefully he did, because he certainly put his all into promoting it.
We can’t go without paying homage to the man who knew both when to walk away and when to run.
Kenny Rogers wasn’t the only well-known person in the Roasters company- he co-founded it with a former governor of Kentucky.
At their peak, the Ken-ster had over 350 of these puppies up and running the world ’round.
However, fortunes faded. The chain was a punch-line on a memorable episode of Seinfeld, and after a series of sales and chapter 11 declarations, the restaurants now can only be found in Asia where people clearly still have some taste.
And last but not least, we have to pause a moment and honor the Hulkster.
While Hulk Hogan’s Pastamania! wasn’t a chain like Kenny’s was, it is still unforgettable. In yet another thing to add to the list of things I didn’t know about Hogan, apparently he is a big pasta fan. The restaurant, located in the Mall of America, boasted serving some of the Hulk-ster’s favorite international pastas from around the world. (At least four words can be removed from that above sentence to make it read better. Those four words would be ‘from,’ ‘around,’ ‘the,’ and ‘world.’
“What about the kids?” I hear you cry. Hulk’s thought of them too, offering a separate special menu for the little ‘Pastamaniacs.’
In what is a familiar refrain now, the restaurant didn’t last last. (But it didn’t stop Hulk from trying to make it in the food world- he offered a frozen Hulk Cheese Burger, a grill that was suspiciously similar to one made by George Foreman and “Tropic Thunder,” that, according to the can, gave you energy.
While all of these fine dining establishments live on only in our minds, we still have the menus to take us back to a simpler time, when Alan Hale was around every corner.