The restaurant business isn’t for everyone. While Nobu mastermind Robert De Niro and Los Angeles-based restaurateur Lisa Vanderpump are examples of successful celebrity eatery owners, other stars haven’t been quite so lucky.
Take Jessica Biel, for example. The Total Recall actress opened a chic yet kid-friendly L.A. restaurant in 2016 called Au Fudge. While the establishment set itself apart from other trendy West Hollywood eateries by catering specifically to customers with young families (there was even a children’s playroom on-site so parents could dine in peace) that wasn’t enough to keep it afloat.
In July 2018, Au Fudge abruptly shuttered. Its closure was confirmed in a duo of emotional Instagram posts. “Thank you for so many years of support. Tomorrow is our last day open at the restaurant, but more things to come from Au Fudge,” the first post explained. “As of Monday, July 16, we will be open for private events.”
A follow-up post reiterated that private events were still available and once again thanked patrons for “all the support.”
An insider told Us Weekly at the time that news of Au Fudge’s sudden closing was upsetting for those who worked there. “The staff found out a couple days ago and tearfully greeted guests on its last day,” the insider revealed.
Biel hinted that her foray into the hospitality industry wasn’t exactly thriving in a January 2017 interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “The restaurant business is way harder than being a producer,” she told Kimmel at the time. “[We’re] definitely not making money. Nobody’s making money in the restaurant business, in my experience, at least not yet.”
Another star who was seemingly surprised by the difficulties of the restaurant industry was Joe Gorga. The Real Housewives of New Jersey star teamed up with his sister, Teresa Giudice, to open Gorga’s Homemade Pasta & Pizza in the Garden State in May 2017, but the restaurant closed in January of the following year due to issues with his business partners.
“Joe is done with Gorga’s Homemade Pasta & Pizza,” a source told Us at the time. “The actual owner of the restaurant and Joe worked out this deal where Joe would get money … if he lent his name and image to the restaurant. But the owner never made good on his end of the deal so Joe is done with the restaurant.”
In February 2020, Gorga told Us exclusively that he “always” talks to his family about giving the restaurant business another try but ultimately doesn’t think it’s in the cards. “We’re not restaurant people,” he admitted. “It’s a whole different world.”
Scroll down for more stars who were unsuccessful in the restaurant business.