Celebrities offer a brand name and marketability for audiences. This applies to all manner of product, even restaurants and night clubs. Not only do these establishments offer a familiarity for customers, but they also reflect the tastes and interests of their owners. Here are 15 celebrities whose eating, drinking or clubbing enterprises project their own personalities.
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Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria has given traditional dining a much more feminine spin. In September it was announced the actress will be condensing her previous Las Vegas establishments, the restaurant Beso and the nightclub Eve, into SHe. The menu will consist of “boutique steakhouse dishes” while also offering a 1920s theme, fashion shows, and other female-oriented entertainment. The hotspot opened in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve.
Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson and Wilmer Valderrama
Three-fourths of That 70s Show’s male line-up (pictured above) joined with Scream star Jaime Kennedy to begin financing their own dining establishments. Together they invested in the Italian restaurant Dolce in Charlotte, North Carolina. Since then the Dolce Group has formed, offering such diverse attractions as the low-key Angels and Kings nightclub chain and the Washington, D.C. based restaurant Ketchup, which offers traditional “American classics with a twist.”
Dan Aykroyd used his Blues Brothers pedigree to get the House of Blues of the ground in 1992 with the help of some friends (Aerosmith, River Phoenix, Paul Schaffer, James Belushi, and Harvard University, to be exact). Since the House of Blues was founded, Aykroyd and Belushi have stayed on as the face of the chain and typically help open new locations. The House of Blues fuses live musical performances with a folk-art theme and traditional southern cuisine. There are currently thirteen locations operating across the U.S.
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Rockstar Julian Lennon is part owner of the chain Blowfish Sushi. The fatalistic tagline “Sushi To Die For” isn’t exactly true—the restaurant doesn’t serve the deadly Blowfish, but does offer a hip and innovative take on traditional sushi. The menu utilizes Lennon’s passion for health conscious food as well as his cross-media interests, streaming Japanese animation across multiple screens for customer’s pleasure.
Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro continued his career path of working with friends by teaming with celebrity chef (and Casino co-star) Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa. The resulting restaurant, Nobu New York, highlights the master chef’s classical sushi style with creative direction spearheaded by Robert De Niro himself. The establishment can be found in Tribeca, New York.
Speaking of Robert De Niro, his Raging Bull co-star, Cathy Moriarty, has refocused her career to focus on Mulberry Street Pizza. Co-owned by chef Richard Palmer, the Beverly Hills chain offers the sort of authentic New York pizza that he and Moriarty grew up with as Bronx natives. Even better, the actress has been known to wait tables herself, thus adding to the experience for fans and customers.
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Self-proclaimed “foodie” Zach Braff opened the Mermaid Oyster Bar in New York City. Taking a page from his own film Garden State, Braff returned to his roots by teaming with high school friend and chef Laurence Edelman. The bar has locations in East Village and the Upper West side and offers 16 different types of oysters.
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Jay-Z began his 40/40 Club chain in 2003. The enterprise combines the rapper's infatuation with sports, celebrities, and hip-hop into one exclusive after hours experience. Many critics credit Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” for giving the chain brand recognition with the rhyme "Now you chillin' with a boss, b---- of course SC on the sleeve / at the 40/40 club ESPN on the screen.” The latest iteration of the club is located in the Brooklyn Nets’ Barclays Center arena.
As a native of Memphis, Tennessee, Justin Timberlake took it upon him to bring Tennessee barbecue to New York City. The restaurant is known for its southern barbecue and pub food, recreating the sort of experience one might have in Memphis neighborhood eatery. A second restaurant has been opened in Denver recently, with 9 more pending across the U.S.
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In 2011, Mark Wahlberg teamed with brothers Donnie and Paul to create Wahlburgers. Located in Hingham, Massachusetts, the restaurant cooks with the Wahlburg family’s home recipes. It's very family oriented and boasts the use of “government standard cheese” on each seafood, turkey, or hamburger served.
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Actress Susan Sarandon is known to have a great passion for ping pong, especially after the opening of SPiN. The New York based day/night club boasts “an unusual mixture of sport, design and entertainment.” It also offers gourmet cuisine at Ducks, a restaurant within the club that features fine dining from executive chef (and one-time junior table tennis pro) Will Horowitz.
Southern native Morgan Freeman is known for splitting his time between New York City and Charleston, Mississippi. The actor’s affection for the Mississippi Delta and blues music were combined to make Ground Zero Blues Club. Located in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the night club sports a ragged authenticity alongside delicious southern food and often features performances by several of the biggest names in blues. The nightspot has been the subject of coverage on both 60 Minutes and the BBC series Stephen Fry In America.
As evidenced by his much publicized penchant for partying, Charlie Sheen clearly loves a good drink. The actor apparently loves it so much that he’s opened a bar in Los Cabos, Mexico. Sheen recently opened The Goose in the hippest hotel in the resort area, El Ganz. The red carpet gala for the event was unfortunately overshadowed by Sheen’s dropping of a homophobic slur during a speech. Maybe he opened the bar for himself a little earlier than everyone else?
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Former Van Halen lead singer, beach bum and tequila enthusiast Sammy Hagar owns a string of night clubs and restaurants. Among them are Cabo Wabo Cantina, which sports a line of high quality tequilas, Sammy’s Beach Bar and Grill and Sammy's Rockin' Island Bar & Grill. These locations also tie into Hagar’s own line of Cabo Wabo tequilas and other spirits.
Singer songwriter Jimmy Buffett built his career on music about cheeseburgers, margaritas, and partying. Was anyone surprised when he opened a chain of Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Restaurants? Of all the celebrities on this list, Buffet’s ventures have been the most successful. Margaritaville has yielded countless locations across the globe and has been spun off into hotels and retail outlets. The menu has also been popular enough to insure a line of frozen foods and a beer by the name of Landshark.