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Celebrity-driven restaurants, are they ever any good?

We have seen them come and go, celebrity driven restaurants and taverns (not to be confused on this post with eateries opened by celebrity chefs which is indeed another issue)...my question is: do they ever turn out good? In my area, greater New York City, we have and have had a number of these spots show up with big sports and Hollywood names involved and except for the opening excitement (hype), normally they do not last very long...Have you been to any celebrity establishments that are above average? Why do you think these places rarely display longevity...

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  1. G.R., I will always remember the Seinfeld episode featuring "Kenny Rogers' Roster" across from Kramer's apartment. To me, that episode defines celebrity resturants.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Walters

      Thanks, Walters...good reference and funny, but I also know there are a few that exist, for better or for worse: Mickey Mantle's, Manhattan; Don Shula's Steakhouse, national; Justin Timberlake put his name to a rib joint on the Upper East Side of Manhattan that you cannot get into right now; Michael Jordon's Steakhouse (which I hear is much better than average); Moe's Grill in New Rochelle, N.Y. with pitcher Mariano Rivera as a partner that I hear is for sale (it lasted almost 2 years); actor Richard Gere is part of a new restaurant/cafe/spa being developed in Bedford, N.Y....and so on.

      1. re: gutreactions

        The few I have been to out here in LA have been average to bad. Just waiting for one of the Hollywood stars to open their own place here and name it something like "Ego Inn". I think that Deniro is involved with some places in NY through Nobu, is he not? Maybe that's the ticket. Only link up with a very successful restaurant guy and show up once in a while with your "posse."

        1. re: Servorg

          He's involved with Nobu and Tribeca Grill. Nobu was a celebrity chef on the West coast before he came to NY. However, I don't believe that Tribeca Grill is affiliated with a celebrity chef.

    2. Actually Michael Jordan's steakhouse in Grand Central's (NYC) not bad at all. It's not as good as Luger or S&W or Striphouse ... but it's respectable. And the ambience is really spectactular, I think.

      Apparently Justin Timberlake's Southern Hospitality isn't too bad for ribs. Haven't been, so I can't comment. Word on the street is that it doesn't suck too much.

      1. brett favre's steakhouse in green bay is TERRIBLE!!!! (i was on the road with family & my late father wanted to try it-- mea culpa to the gods of all things epicurean)

        1. We visited Emeril's restaurant at Universal Studios, and have also eaten at Delmonico's (his steakhouse in the Venetian in Las Vegas). The service at both was the best I've ever had in any restaurant, and the food was pretty good in both as well. I think that probably has a lot to do with his celebrity coming from the food industry, rather than something completely unrelated.

          1. We have George Brett's Steakhouse in Kansas City. This place competes with some "famous" KC Steakhouses - Plaza III, Hereford House, Savoy, among others. I'm not sure if it's better - but, it must have something going for it besides the name. ..Will put it on the list...
            Of course, Harry Carry's in Chicago is actually a favorite for their famous potato chips. The food is decent - but, chips and a cold beverage are a nice treat.

            3 Replies
            1. re: stellamystar

              George Brett's on the Plaza is not a steakhouse. It's a trashy bar that sells blue margarita's and sliders. Blah.

              1. re: chinkymonkey

                Well, I guess we have our answer about that! Just add it to the list of mediocre Plaza restaurants

              2. re: stellamystar

                In addition to Harry Carry's, Mike Ditka has a well regarded steakhouse in Chicago.

              3. Oh, you meanlike Ashton Kutcher/Tara Reid's celebirty restaurant chain that specializes in gourmet ketchup? Mark my words, this chain will be around 100 years from now.


                3 Replies
                1. re: monkeyrotica

                  A HIT, A KNOCKOUT
                  Wasn't the club-restaurant of the boxer Jake Lamotta, as I remember it, from the movie "Raging Bull", a very poular spot in New York with Jake himself doing stand up each night?

                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                    Ketchup is owned (unless I've missed something) by The Dolce Group, which also owns Dolce and The Geisha House, in LA. I've heard that they are opening 4 or 5 new places in the next year or so, so one would presume that either they do OK or the investors just have lots of money. None of them get great reviews, but seem to be reasonably decent enough that they get by.

                    1. re: Midlife

                      My impression is that places like these get by on looks more than substance. DC has quite a few restaurants that are more known as places to see and be seen than they are for their food. I think a restaurant with some Hollywood celebrity cachet will do well in DC, a.k.a. "Hollywood for ugly people."

                  2. In NYC, I thought Sean Comb's restaurant, Justin's was pretty good. I also liked Michael Jordan's at Grand Central, Bobby Van's was excellent. I also tried Ditka's in Chicago-- some of the best fries I ever had. All of these places have been around for approximately 10 years may be more.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MrsT

                      Michael Jordan's DC restaurant was terrible: expensive, weak food, indifferent service. It closed in less than 2 years.


                    2. I haven't been to many here in Los Angeles, but the worst by far is Madre's, Jennifer Lopez's restaurant. The food is (supposed to be) Cuban and it was tastless...yes, tasteless CUBAN food!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Gingerleen

                        True story from our visit to Madre's out in Pasadena many years ago.


                        Friend: What would you recommend?

                        Server: The mojitos.

                        Friend: Oh, no, I meant the food.

                        Server: [blushing like a Norwegien after a day at the beach] The chocolate ice cream.

                        Friend: No, no, I meant for dinner.

                        Server: Yes, so did I.

                      2. Majerle's in the Phoenix area is utterly despicable. It's like Denny's without any of the good food that Denny's has (yes, there are a few items at Denny's worth getting once in a while), and it charges a higher price.

                        Majerle's seems to do a pretty brisk business so I can't really explain its longevity.

                        Maybe it's Phoenix that's the problem ... after all, right across the street from Majerle's is, what else, but a Hard Rock Cafe.

                        1. Looks like Ago in Manhattan, the new Italian restaurant owned in part by actor Robert DeNiro, is the latest celebrity driven spot to be chastised by the press...in this case a poor review in the N.Y. Times...The chef/partner is supposed to have good credentials...what happened? How could they possibly have opened in such poor fashion?

                          1. I remember being dragged to Terre Haute Indiana to go to Larry Bird's restaurant with an ex-BF. It was dirty and the food was beyond blah. Not sure if the place is still there, but I would think you have to be a BIG fan to wanna go.

                            1. We were near St. Augustine (FL) & it was lunch time. We hopped off I-95 to go to Bill Murray's Caddy Shack. The place doesn't pretend to be anything more than an high end sports bar. I had a pretty good Chicago style Brat & she had a fairly good burgher. I wouldn't drive a long ways to go there again, but if I was in the area, wouldn't hestitate to stop in again.

                              1. Bobby V's (valentines, NY Mets) in Stamford is as good a dive as you can get - great hamburgers, nice hang out. Been there a long while, will continue for a long while.

                                1. Does anyone have any experience with Morgan Freeman's venture Madidi in Clarksdale, MS?