There’s a lot more to being a celebrity than walking down a red carpet or selling out a concert venue. In fact, for a select group of stars who own or are part-owners of restaurants, food and drink plays a central role in their lives.
For some famous faces, like Mark Wahlberg, food runs in the family. The Massachusetts native runs an empire of more than two dozen Wahlburgers restaurants with his brothers Paul, a chef, and Donnie, who is also an actor. The success of the fast-casual chain, which boasts locations all over the country and in Canada, has even been documented on the Emmy-nominated TV series, aptly titled Wahlburgers.
In August 2020, Donnie revealed how the famous family have inspired the food that makes it onto the menu. “My brother Paul did an amazing job taking the flavors we grew up with and making them into one delicious menu. From the tater tots we ate in school to the burgers my dad used to grill up for us on Sunday nights, you’ll find the Wahlburgers menu is heavily influenced by mealtime with our family,” he said during an interview with Fox Valley Magazine about a new location.
The musician added: “The local support here in St. Charles has been outstanding. We had people lined up the first day who waited for hours to get in the doors. We’re lucky to have the greatest guests in the world who are just as excited about this restaurant as I am!”
For others, such as Channing Tatum, the shift to the hospitality business came after making it big in Tinseltown. The 21 Jump Street star opened a restaurant and bar called Saints and Sinners in New Orleans, Louisiana, following several childhood visits and numerous on-location film shoots in the southern city. Talk about getting inspired!
Ryan Gosling, who is part-owner of the Beverly Hills restaurant Tagine, also has Hollywood to thank for his interest in the food industry. The Crazy, Stupid, Love actor teamed up with Moroccan-born chef Abdessamad Benameur after tasting the cook’s ethnic eats at a Los Angeles party.
And while restaurants can be very lucrative for Hollywood heavyweights (just look at Robert De Niro’s Nobu empire), not all celebs are in it for the money. Musician Jon Bon Jovi, for example, opened his first pay-what-you-wish JBJ Soul Kitchen restaurant in 2011. The Garden State eatery serves anyone and everyone, and only asks that customers donate what they can to cover operating costs.
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