6 restaurants you didn't know were owned by celebrities
Or maybe you did know, you showbiz so and so
If any one out there is old enough to remember the boisterous excitement fired up around the Planet Hollywood's launch you'll know it was a big deal at the time.
Launching in New York in 1991 and in London two years later, it was not only the world’s first dining experience inspired by Hollywood, but owned by megastars — Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Demi Moore (with a vague promise they eat there).
You can imagine my excitement when I got invited to a school friend's 10th birthday party at Planet Hollywood in London's Trocadero Centre. We happily scoffed our over-priced beef burgers and slurped gigantic glasses of Fanta with one eye on the door, sincere in the hope Bruce, Demi or Arnie would waltz in specifically to sign our autograph books.
They didn't. The chips were cold and the merch was really pricey (no surprises, none of us left with a fridge magnet let alone the reversible Planet Hollywood sweat shirt we all wanted). With the risk of sounding spoilt we all left a little deflated.
Times have changed and while celebrities are opening restaurants and not exactly incognito, there's certainly a lot less hype than those heady nineties days. We've rounded up restaurants owned by celebrities you may not have known were owned by celebrities (did the Wahlburger pun trick you though?), but probably did. Either way they're are no rotten tomatoes here.
Tracks & Records — Usain Bolt
Jerk plate at Tracks & Records, Facebook
The Usain Bolt-fronted Tracks & Records, specialises in authentic Jamaican cuisine, with a menu offering "a taste of home" across classic Jamaican dishes such as the Jerk Platter, a combo of jerk seasoned chicken and pork and the signature U-Burger, named after Bolt.
You'll find two resturants in Kingston and Montego Bay in Jamaica and there are plans to open in 15 locations across the UK, with the first already open in London’s Spitalfields.
The eight-gold medal winning Olympian, has curated a sound track of the best dancehall and reggae artists and some seriously strong cocktails. Don't forget to get a photo doing Usain’s signature “to the world” pose.
Robert de Niro — Nobu
Probably one of the worst kept "silent partner" secrets in the celebrity restaurant world, but when Hollywood actor Robert De Niro teamed up with Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa as a culinary side hustle to his award-winning film work something special happened.
The success of Nobu is undeniable and the brand — synonymus with high end Japanese cuisine, glitzy locations, and A-list customers — first opened in New York City in 1994. There are now over 40 Nobu restaurant locations globally, including three in London. The lifestyle brand Nobu Hospitality was founded in 2009.
If you've taste the black cod you will know the food lives up to all the hype. Here's Robert De Niro talking about how it all came out of his desire to find a "back-up plan" to his acting.
Walton’s Fancy and Staple — Sandra Bullock
Walton’s Fancy and Staple Facebook
The most low-key pick of the celebrity charged restaurant openings here. Located in the Austin Texas Market District, Walton's Fancy and Staple is a hybrid general store, deli, flower shop and bakery owned by Hollywood actress Sandra Bullock.
The restaurant serves elevated Texas grub, such as Shrimp and Grits and a brunch that covers all bases from Eggs Benedict to soft warm pastries straight from the oven.
One of the most popular item on the menu is The Turkey Sweet sandwich. A combo of turkey, applewood smoked bacon, white cheddar and caramelized onion-apple chutney with maple aioli on a croissant and served with a side of dirty fries. Comfort food and coffee at its best.
Wahlburgers — Donnie and Mark Wahlberg
The slightly lesser known Wahlberg brother Paul is a chef not content with cooking for his huge family. In 2011, he teamed up with brothers Mark Wahlberg (Hollywood stardom), Donnie Wahlberg (New Kids on the Block), and opened the Wahlburger restaurant chain.
The family also owns and operates another restaurant named Alma Nove, which opened prior to Wahlburgers. The menu here includes Sloppy Joe’s, tater tots, and frothy adult frappes, based on the same recipes Paul and his eight siblings (yes eight!) devoured as kids.
They have restaurants across the US (Boston first, and 17 others) and in the UK and food trucks in Boston, Detroit and Northern California.
SPiN — Susan Sarandon
SPiN NYC Facebook
Spin was founded in 2009 by Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon and her then-boyfriend Jonathan Bricklin as a ping pong club by day and high-end sports social club by night.
Think Olympic-style pingpong tables, private lounge spaces and a full-service restaurant with a bar featuring American cuisine and cocktails. The restaurant is decorated by US street artists and muralists who recreated New York sub-way art on the walls.
Spin has popped up all over America but the original New York outpost have become an iconic 14,000-square-foot ping-pong hangout in the heart of the Flatiron District. Every Friday there's a high-profile ping-pong competition and "circus" with DJs, dance comps and fun games.
Bertie Blossoms — Ed Sheeran
Bertie Blossoms Facebook
Singer Ed Sheeran opened his first restaurant in London's Notting Hill area in September last year. After announcing an 18-month hiatus from music, the four-time Grammy Award winner celebrated the official launch of Bertie Blossoms – named after wife Cherry Seaborn.
Sheeran undertook his new venture alongside his manager and now business partner Stuart Camp. It's a two storey pub-cum-restaurant that sits in a prime location on London's famous Portobello Road with room to act as a music venue as well as an eatery.
The 28-year-old super-star announced the launch on instagram and posted snaps of cocktails and food from the Bertie Blossoms menu, alongside snaps of him pulling pints.