Profitable eateries: 50 highest grossing restaurants in the US

CLOSE

If you’re active on the online dating scene, finding a restaurant on the new google maps will feel very familiar to finding a soulmate. Susana Victoria Perez has more.
Buzz60

The restaurant business is a tough one. The average lifespan of a restaurant is five years and by some estimates, up to 90 percent of new ones fail within the first year. There are, however, some very successful exceptions that manage to rake in millions of dollars a year.

24/7 Wall Street reviewed food service trade publication Restaurant Business’s latest annual ranking of the top 100 independent restaurants in America, which is based on their reported or estimated gross food and beverage sales for the year. They define independents, for the survey’s purposes, as restaurants with no more than five locations. Fewer than a dozen of the places on this list are single-operator restaurants.

The most recent Restaurant Business rankings, sponsored by Campbell’s, were published late last year, based on figures from 2016. The shuttering in late July of one of their top 50 establishments, Carnevino (No. 23), due to sexual misconduct allegations, inspired us to take a new look at the list. In the course of doing that, we discovered that two other restaurants in the top 50 have also closed since the list was published. There’s no indication that these two went out of business for financial reasons, but the fact that even restaurants that are phenomenally successful can close might serve as a reminder that sales and profits are not the same thing.

Perusal of this list reveals a few interesting facts. First, American diners are obviously carnivorous, as 16 of the top 50 are steakhouses or focus strongly on meat. Second, though Los Angeles has been getting much publicity lately as the country’s new food capital, it shows poorly on the list of top grossing restaurants, with only one restaurant making the cut. New York City, on the other hand, accounts for 20 of the 50. Next in line are Las Vegas, Chicago and vicinity, and Washington, D.C. Finally, celebrity chefdom apparently doesn’t mean very much when it comes to serious financial success. Only half a dozen of these highly grossing restaurants have or had famed culinary personalities attached. Two of those are among the places that have since closed, and two more are no longer associated with the noted names.

Some of the restaurants on this list serve breakfast (and brunch), lunch, and dinner, while others are open only in the evenings; many are open seven days a week, while others might close for a day or two. These factors obviously influence the number of meals served annually. The restaurant industry usually computes “average check” (or “check average”) by dividing total sales by number of those meals. In some instances in this list, the math doesn’t work out, but that’s most likely because the restaurants in question (especially those with nightclubs and/or large bars or lounges) racked up substantial sales from alcohol unaccompanied by meals.

More:Employment trends: 20 jobs that have become dominated by women

 

50. Beauty & Essex     • Location: New York City, NY     • Annual sales: $16,308,810     • Avg. check: $85     • Meals served annually: 191,505     This quirky place on Manhattan’s trendy Lower East Side is a functioning pawn shop up front, filled with merchandise for sale — some of it genuinely pawned, some of it chosen second-hand by curator Lauren Kaminsky. Through a door at the back of the shop, though, is a bustling restaurant, complete with four dining rooms, two bars, and a lounge.     The imaginative menu includes such mashups as tuna poke wonton tacos, Caesar toast with crispy chicken skin, and chile relleno empanadas. The restaurant — owned by Madison Square Garden Co.’s Tao Group, which is well-represented on this list (see No. 14, No. 7, No. 3, and No.1) — has siblings in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. (Photo: WordRidden / Flickr)

  • Location: New York City, N.Y.
  • Annual sales: $16,308,810
  • Avg. check: $85
  • Meals served annually: 191,505

This quirky place on Manhattan’s trendy Lower East Side is a functioning pawn shop up front, filled with merchandise for sale — some of it genuinely pawned, some of it chosen second-hand by curator Lauren Kaminsky. Through a door at the back of the shop, though, is a bustling restaurant, complete with four dining rooms, two bars, and a lounge.

The imaginative menu includes such mashups as tuna poke wonton tacos, Caesar toast with crispy chicken skin, and chile relleno empanadas. The restaurant — owned by Madison Square Garden Co.’s Tao Group, which is well-represented on this list (see No. 14, No. 7, No. 3, and No.1) — has siblings in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

49. Le Diplomate

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Annual sales: $16,377,232
  • Avg. check: $58
  • Meals served annually: 306,708

A skillfully recreated Parisian-style brasserie with a skylit terrace, this popular D.C. restaurant is part of the Philadelphia-based Starr Group, which operates 37 restaurants in New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Paris, as well as in the nation’s capital and its hometown. The fare is mostly old-style French — oysters, pâté, salade niçoise, beef bourguignon, etc. — and there is an outdoor cart selling homemade ice creams and sorbets in nice weather.

48. Grand Central Oyster Bar

  • Location: New York, N.Y.
  • Annual sales: $16,400,000 (est.)
  • Avg. check: $54 (est.)
  • Meals served annually: 310,000

A New York classic for more than a century, the Oyster Bar on the lower level of iconic Grand Central Station is a major destination for seafood-lovers. Oysters, of course, are the big draw. Every day there are 20 or more choices; the ever-changing master list contains more than 250 different kinds, from the East and West coasts of both the U.S. and Canada, as well as Mexico and Chile. Stews and pan-roasts, cold seafood salads, and 15 or 20 kinds of fresh-caught fish are among the other offerings. The vaulted tile arches and ceilings by famed Valencian architect Rafael Guastavino provide a stunning setting.

47. Quality Italian

  • Location: New York, N.Y.
  • Annual sales: $16,529,915
  • Avg. check: $90
  • Meals served annually: 171,713

Part of the Quality Branded group — which has eight restaurants in New York City, one in Miami Beach, and a second Quality Italian in Denver — Quality Italian serves modern Italian-American food. That translates to several varieties of crudo, homemade pastas (including agnolotti with dry-aged porterhouse), sausage and pepper garlic toast, and assorted steaks and chops, among other specialties. Quality Branded’s principals are veteran restaurateur Alan Stillman (see No. 8) and his son Michael.

46. Taste of Texas

  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Annual sales: $16,720,966
  • Avg. check: $55
  • Meals served annually: 363,715

Opened in 1977, Taste of Texas is a landmark Houston steakhouse with a menu that includes eight cuts of steak — all Certified Angus Beef — seafood, and other steakhouse staples, as well as a range of appetizers, such as Texas quail bites and jalapeño stuffed shrimp. The restaurant also hosts a collection of museum-quality Texas historical artifacts, from Sam Houston’s calling card to a Victorian-era gun rack to an assortment of pre-statehood Texas flags.

 (Photo: Courtesy of Bellagio Las Vegas)

45. Prime Steakhouse

  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Annual sales: $16,800,000 (est.)
  • Avg. check: $158 (est.)
  • Meals served annually: 112,675

Located in the Bellagio Hotel, this is one of two Las Vegas steakhouses run by Alsatian-born celebrity chef-restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten. In all, he is responsible for 23 establishments around the U.S. and 16 overseas. The menu, of course, is steak-heavy (certified A5 Japanese Kobe beef is one of the choices), but includes peekytoe crab cakes, pan-roasted Dover sole, and other seafood choices as well. Several years ago, the bar was remodeled at a cost of $1.1 million into a luxurious 2,723-square-foot lounge with an enclosed patio.

44. Aria Cafe

  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Annual sales: $16,800,000 (est.)
  • Avg. check: $24 (est.)
  • Meals served annually: 700,000

Open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., this casual café in the Aria Resort & Casino, with its terrazzo floors and sloping glass walls, offers diners everything from huevos rancheros to fish and chips, from a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato dipping sauce to a “secret sushi” menu.

43. Parc

  • Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Annual sales: $16,921,459
  • Avg. check: $56
  • Meals served annually: 423,619

One of 37 Starr Group restaurants around the country (and in Paris), Parc is a French-style bistro/brasserie transported to Philadelphia. The menu covers all the bases for such places — oysters, onion soup, escargots, trout amandine, duck à l’orange, profiteroles, and the like — and there are daily specials, such as lobster risotto and bouillabaisse.

42. Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar

  • Location: New York, N.Y.
  • Annual sales: $17,000,000 (est.)
  • Avg. check: $43 (est.)
  • Meals served annually: 406,000

Guy’s — the guy in question being TV star and chef-restaurateur Guy Fieri — opened in late 2012 and was greeted with a now-legendary review by New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells. “Guy Fieri, have you eaten at your new restaurant…?” Wells asked. He went on to describe a cocktail that tasted like radiator fluid and formaldehyde, “deeply unlovable” nachos, and Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders that were “very far from awesome.” That didn’t stop a couple of million Fieri fans from lining up outside to sample his “off-the-hook” cooking over the next five years. They’re not lining up anymore. Notwithstanding the restaurant’s healthy annual sales, Fieri and his backers closed the place on Dec. 31, 2017 for reasons that were never explained.

41. Shaw’s Crab House

  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Annual sales: $17,100,000 (est.)
  • Avg. check: $65 (est.)
  • Meals served annually: 265,000

Inspired by old-school seafood houses in Maryland and Detroit, Shaw’s was opened in 1984 by the massive Lettuce Entertain You food service empire, which runs 120+ restaurants in nine states and counting.

In a 1940s-style atmosphere, Shaw’s offers oysters, crab (of course) in several forms, sushi and sashimi, steamed Maine lobster, and a selection of fish in season that might include Santa Barbara stone crab claws, Panama swordfish, and Lake Erie yellow perch. There is a newer Shaw’s in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg.

 (Photo: Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images for NYCWFF)

40. Tavern on the Green

  • Location: New York, N.Y.
  • Annual sales: $17,200,000 (est.)
  • Avg. check: $70 (est.)
  • Meals served annually: 260,000

This beautifully located Central Park landmark started life in the 1880s as a sheep barn, designed by the celebrated English architect and landscape designer Calvert Vaux. Controversial city planner Robert Moses turned it into a restaurant in 1934. Over the years, the fortunes of the place ebbed and flowed, and the management changed frequently. Restaurant impresario Warner LeRoy ran it from 1976 to 1988; famed chef Jeremiah Tower took over the kitchen for a scant five months in 2014 and ’15. Today, under Philadelphia restaurateurs Jim Caiola and David Salama, it seems to have found its groove with solid cooking and a something-for-everyone menu that includes kale and quinoa salad, grilled baby octopus, and roasted organic chicken.

39. Mon Ami Gabi

  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Annual sales: $17,200,000 (est.)
  • Avg. check: $66 (est.)
  • Meals served annually: 300,000

The Sin City outpost of this friendly French bistro, with locations also in the Chicago and Washington D.C. areas, is part of the Chicago-based Lettuce Entertain You group. The classic French fare focuses on variations on steak frites, though many other choices are available. Breakfast and weekend brunch are also served, and there is an ample gluten-free menu.

38. Chicago Cut Steakhouse

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • Annual sales: $17,200,000 (est.)
  • Avg. check: $85 (est.)
  • Meals served annually: 210,000

Steakhouse veterans David Flom and Matthew Moore opened this busy steakhouse in 2010. It has proven popular with a wide range of sports stars as well as celebrities like actors Colin Farrell and John Cusack, who were presumably tempted by its bone-in prime rib, prime steaks, and fresh seafood — and maybe even by its foot-long Kobe beef hot dog.

37. Founding Farmers

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Annual sales: $17,243,194
  • Avg. check: $35
  • Meals served annually: 571,078

This unique LEED Gold Certified establishment, which opened in 2008, is one of five restaurants — four in the D.C. area, one in Pennsylvania — owned primarily by more than 47,000 family farmers belonging to the North Dakota Farmers Union. Hundreds of farms involved supply raw materials to the restaurants. The fare is mostly home-style — skillet cornbread, fried green tomatoes, chicken pot pie, Yankee pot roast, pork chops — and there are numerous sandwiches and homemades pastas. Founding Farmers also serves proprietary “farm-to-still” rye whisky, gin, and Peruvian pisco brandy.

36. Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

  • Location: Rosemont, Illinios
  • Annual sales: $17,442,193
  • Avg. check: $71
  • Meals served annually: 258,249

This is one of two suburban locations of the popular downtown Chicago steakhouse of the same name. The no-nonsense menu is centered around prime corn-fed Black Angus beef, aged for 40 days. There’s also plenty of seafood, including a spicy lobster cocktail, as well as spit-roasted chicken, baby back ribs, and a charbroiled burger. Owned by the Gibsons Restaurant Group, this Gibsons is across from Rosemont’s Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.

35. The Smith (Midtown)

  • Location: New York, N.Y. f/c
  • Annual sales: $17,450,000
  • Avg. check: $44
  • Meals served annually: 395,911

Two locations of this “jack-of-all-trades” restaurant (as their website calls it) — out of four Smiths in New York City and two in Washington, D.C. — made this list (see No. 27). It’s easy to see the appeal. The kitchen seems more concerned with satisfying cravings than breaking new ground. Thus: a raw bar, tomato soup, Caesar salad, ricotta gnocchi, lobster roll, two burgers, five steaks (with fries or field greens), spaghetti and meatballs as a Sunday special…. You get the idea.

34. Abe & Louie’s

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Annual sales: $17,463,196
  • Avg. check: $85
  • Meals served annually: 222,599

Abe & Louie’s is an “add lobster tail to any entrée for $25” kind of place, as specified on the menu, heavy on corn-fed Midwestern prime steaks, chops, and seafood. Its parent company, the Tavistock Restaurant Collection, runs 18 restaurants in eight states, including a second Abe & Louie’s in Boca Raton, Florida.

 (Photo: Courtesy of Blue Fin via Facebook)

33. Blue Fin

  • Location: New York, N.Y.
  • Annual sales: $17,500,000 (est.)
  • Avg. check: $72 (est.)
  • Meals served annually: 243,000

The recently remodeled Blue Fin in the Times Square W Hotel proposes an extensive menu of sushi and other seafood, plus a couple of steaks and a New York State of Mind burger, made with all New York State ingredients. A raw bar and an artisanal cheese selection round out the menu, and breakfast and brunch are served. The restaurant’s corporate parent, BR Guest Hospitality, which runs 17 restaurants in New York, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Las Vegas, was acquired in late 2016 by the massive Landry’s, Inc., which itself oversees more than 600 restaurants, hotels, casinos, and sports teams across the country.

32. Del Posto

  • Location: New York, N.Y.
  • Annual sales: $17,800,000 (est.)
  • Avg. check: $162 (est.)
  • Meals served annually: 110,000

This elegant, justifiably pricey Italian restaurant is described on its website as a “creation of Joe Bastianich, Lidia Bastianich and Executive Chef Melissa Rodriguez.” That’s true as far as it goes, but the missing name on that list is the now-disgraced Mario Batali, whose vision was essential to the place for more than a decade. Opened in 2005, Del Posto got a three-star review in the New York Times the following year, and then a four-star ranking — the paper’s highest restaurant accolade — in 2010. No other Italian place had reached that level since 1974. Chef Rodriguez — who joined the staff in 2011, was promoted to chef de cuisine in 2015, and became executive chef last year — prepares refined but full-flavored versions of many Italian classics, including vitello tonnato, orecchiette with rabbit sausage and turnips, and the seafood stew called cacciucco livornese.

31. Acme Feed & Seed

  • Location: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Avg. check: $16
  • Meals served annually: 611,454

Built in 1890, the building now occupied by Acme Feed & Seed has housed a grocery store, a flour company, and a wholesale drug firm, among other tenants, and from 1943 to 1999 it was home to the business that became known as Acme Farm Supply. After that closed, the structure was occupied only occasionally until 2014, when Nashville chef-restaurateur and caterer Tom Morales took it over. In the space, he created a four-level complex with a “funkytonk” on the ground floor, serving such fare as hot chicken sandwich, gorgonzola meatloaf, and “redneck lo mein;” a lounge and bar with sushi bar and bar food on the second level; an event and music venue on the third floor; and an open-air bar on the roof.

30. Bob Chinn’s Crab House

  • Location: Wheeling, Illinois
  • Annual sales: $17,990,990
  • Avg. check: $37
  • Meals served annually: 483,111

Opened by veteran Chinese-American restaurateur Bob Chinn in 1982, this seafood house about 30 miles northwest of Chicago takes pride in its quick service, noting that almost every item can be prepared in 15 minutes or less.

Crab, of course, features prominently on the lengthy menu — Louisiana blue crab, Alaskan snow crab and king crab, Maryland softshells, Massachusetts Jonah crab, Australian kona crab. There’s a salad bar, a selection of fresh fish, and some meat dishes marked on the menu as “for the landlubber.” Some 13 variations on surf & turf are also offered.

 (Photo: Ina L. / Yelp)

29. Quality Meats

  • Location: New York, N.Y.
  • Annual sales: $18,003,504
  • Avg. check: $100
  • Meals served annually: 178,297

The second Quality Branded restaurant on this list (see No. 47), Quality Meats is a clubby-looking steakhouse with a raw bar, a charcuterie selection, and what is provocatively called a “smoking section.” This isn’t the place for cigarettes and cigars, but rather a menu of smoked cocktails such as the BBQ old-fashioned, liquors such as the rimfire mesquite-smoked Texas single malt, and snacks such as devils on horseback sliders, with bacon jam, dates, Maytag Blue cheese, and caramelized onions. The restaurant’s winning customer-suggested dessert is cheesecake ice cream with Key lime pie ribbons, graham cracker crunch, and toasted marshmallow swirl. T.G.I. Fridays and Smith & Wollensky founder Alan Stillman and his son Michael run Quality Branded.

28. Sparks Steak House

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Annual sales: $18,150,000 (est.)
  • Avg. check: $90 (est.)
  • Meals served annually: 210,000

“Little but the prices has changed at Sparks since it opened in 1966, and patrons like it that way,” according to Restaurant Business. The menu is steakhouse-standard: shrimp cocktail, baked clams, spinach salad, extra-thick veal and lamb chops, lobster, swordfish, and of course steak. The wine list is immense and justly famous, and there are private rooms that can seat up to 250 people.

27. The Smith (Lincoln Square)

  • Location: New York, N.Y.
  • Annual sales: $18,950,000
  • Avg. check: $43
  • Meals served annually: 530,802

Situated for success across the street from Lincoln Center, this branch of The Smith offers a menu that is almost identical to that at the Midtown version (see No. 5). That means straightforward fare, varied and, according to many reviews both professional and crowd-sourced, generally very good.

26. Primehouse

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • Annual sales: $19,200,000 (est.)
  • Avg. check: $98 (est.)
  • Meals served annually: 200,000

From the time it was founded in 2006 until last year, this Chicago steakhouse — famous for its dry-aged beef in a city where wet-aging is more prevalent — was called David Burke’s Primehouse. Burke, the celebrity chef who has opened and closed a number of restaurants in New York and elsewhere, actually left the place in 2014 but didn’t take his name off it until last year. Despite its success, the restaurant, which is located in the James Hotel, closed on Dec. 9 and is scheduled to be reinvented soon as The James Kitchen + Bar.

 (Photo: SW Steakhouse / Yelp)

25. SW Steakhouse

  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Annual sales: $19,900,000 (est.)
  • Avg. check: $130 (est.)
  • Meals served annually: 151,000

This waterside meat emporium, which offers views of the nightly Wynn Hotel’s Lake of Dreams shows — featuring music, lights, holographics, and puppetry — is the preserve of chef David Walzog, a veteran of several New York City steakhouses.

In addition to a caviar service, several salads, and a good choice of aged steaks and other entrees, the menu lists seven varieties of high-quality wagyu beef, six of them from Japan, topping out at $220 for a 4-ounce portion of Hyogo Prefecture Kobe tenderloin, New York strip, ribeye, or rib cap.

24. Bazaar Meat by José Andrés

  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Annual sales: $20,200,000 (est.)
  • Avg. check: $105 (est.)
  • Meals served annually: 192,000

José Andrés is a phenomenon, a tireless champion of Spanish food, both traditional and avant-garde, and a globe-trotting food activist who has spearheaded hunger relief efforts in places like Haiti and Puerto Rico and was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people for 2018. He is also a showman, well-suited to Las Vegas, where this carnivore’s paradise offers an array of tartares, carpaccios, and cured meats; steaks galore, including Japanese Kobe; roast suckling pig (by special order); and, just for variety, caviar tasting flights and what the menu calls “meats from the sea” like whole turbot and grilled Maine lobster.

23. Carnevino Italian Steakhouse

  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Annual sales: $20,400,000 (est.)
  • Avg. check: $182 (est.)
  • Meals served annually: 112,000

Carnevino was part of the mostly-Italian restaurant group founded by Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. It was known for its wide range of pastas and its veal, beef, lamb, and pork dishes. Following allegations of sexual misconduct against Batali earlier this year, Batali separated from the organization, and the group announced that it was closing its three Las Vegas restaurants this month, including this one. Carnevino shut down on July 23.

22. Angus Barn

  • Location: Raleigh, N.C.
  • Annual sales: $20,402,068
  • Avg. check: $68
  • Meals served annually: 298,960

This family-owned meat mecca in a huge barn-like building near the Raleigh-Durham airport opened in 1960. The structure burned in 1964 but was rebuilt and reopened the following year. Aged steaks, in various cuts and sizes, are a specialty — the restaurant claims to serve an average of 22,000 of them a month — but seafood, seafood-and-meat combinations, and even a char-grilled vegetable plate are also available.

21. Buddakan

  • Location: New York, N.Y.
  • Annual sales: $20,555,460
  • Avg. check: $84
  • Meals served annually: 250,416

Another establishment owned by Philadelphia’s Starr Group, which has 36 eating places around America as well as one in Paris, Buddakan has been hailed as one of the most beautifully designed restaurants in New York City. The main dining room is illuminated with chandeliers that one critic described as being “as big as Volkswagens” hung from a ceiling and another called “as high as the Himalayas.”

The menu is Asian-inspired, with a selection of dumplings and other dim sum, a Peking duck salad with sherry vinaigrette, Mongolian lamb chops, kung pao monkfish, and Dungeness crab sticky rice with Chinese broccoli among the choices.

20. Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • Annual sales: $21,200,000 (est.)
  • Avg. check: $80 (est.)
  • Meals served annually: 265,000

The owners of Joe’s Stone Crab, a Miami Beach institution dating from 1913, entered into a partnership with Richard Melman, founder of Chicago’s Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group, in 2000 to open this popular Chicago extension of the original concept. Two more were subsequently launched, in Las Vegas and Washington, D.C., and all three are among

the highest-grossing restaurants in the country (see No. 15 and No.17).

Florida stone crab remains a staple of the menu, along with other fish and shellfish choices such as oysters Rockefeller, crispy fried shrimp, and grilled Alaskan halibut. Steaks include a rarely seen bone-in filet mignon.

19. St. Elmo Steak House

  • Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Annual sales: $21,308,565
  • Avg. check: $90
  • Meals served annually: 239,725

The oldest Indianapolis steakhouse still in its original location, St. Elmo — named for the patron saint of sailors — opened as a tavern in 1902. Nine different steaks are served, and prices for these and other entrees include navy bean soup or tomato juice plus a choice of potatoes or green beans. Chops, chicken, seafood, and salads fill out the bill of fare. For sports fans, there are also special Colts football and Pacers basketball pre-game menus.

18. Bottega Louie     • Location: Los Angeles, CA     • Annual sales: $21,720,463     • Avg. check: $35     • Meals served annually: 729,612     This 255-seat restaurant in downtown Los Angeles has a gourmet market, patisserie, and café attached. Breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner are served. Pizzas, pastas, small plates, such as gazpacho, Sicilian tuna crudo, meatballs marinara, etc., and a selection of main dishes are offered day and night. Yelp named Bottega Louie as one of the 30 L.A. restaurants worth a wait (reservations aren’t accepted). A West Hollywood location is planned for 2019. (Photo: Photo by Bottega Louie via Yelp)

18. Bottega Louie

  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Annual sales: $21,720,463
  • Avg. check: $35
  • Meals served annually: 729,612

This 255-seat restaurant in downtown Los Angeles has a gourmet market, patisserie, and café attached. Breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner are served. Pizzas, pastas, small plates, such as gazpacho, Sicilian tuna crudo, meatballs marinara, etc., and a selection of main dishes are offered day and night. Yelp named Bottega Louie as one of the 30 L.A. restaurants worth a wait (reservations aren’t accepted). A West Hollywood location is planned for 2019.

17. Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Annual sales: $21,800,000 (est.)
  • Avg. check: $85 (est.)
  • Meals served annually: 260,000

This spinoff has a menu that’s almost identical to that at the Chicago original, but with prices slightly higher. The daily market card differs somewhat, especially in the choice of oysters. Restaurant Business notes that, while its name specifies prime steak, Joe’s created a sriracha bacon burger for National Burger Month in May.

16. The Hamilton

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Annual sales: $21,978,322
  • Avg. check: $34
  • Meals served annually: 759,970

The Hamilton (not to be confused with the Hamilton Hotel) is owned and operated by the Clyde’s Restaurant Group, whose holdings include more than a dozen restaurants and music venues in the D.C. area, including the historic Old Ebbitt Grill (see No. 5). The club at The Hamilton is host to the annual White House Correspondents Jam, held the night before the famous political-themed dinner itself (Billy Bob Thornton, Kevin Bacon, and newsman/rock bassist Lester Holt have been among the performers).

The restaurant? It has something for everyone: mezze platter, wings, charcuterie and cheese, salads, sushi, fish and chips, Nashville-style hot chicken, house-made pastas, steaks and chops, burgers and sandwiches … and a selection of milkshakes and malts, plain or with booze added.

15. Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Annual sales: $23,000,000 (est.)
  • Avg. check: $80 (est.)
  • Meals served annually: 288,000

Prices at this outpost of Joe’s in the nation’s capital are slightly lower in many cases than at the parent restaurant in Chicago, but the menu is otherwise identical. There’s a long “Cocktail Hour” daily, running from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and featuring signature drinks and half-price oysters on the half shell.

 (Photo: Courtesy of TAO Uptown via Facebook)

14. Tao Uptown

  • Location: New York, N.Y.
  • Annual sales: $23,089,638
  • Avg. check: $85
  • Meals served annually: 282,827

One of two Taos in New York City (Tao Downtown is listed at No. 3) — others are in L.A., Chicago, and Las Vegas (see No. 1) — this Asian-themed mega-restaurant occupies a building that was a Vanderbilt family stable in the 19th century and later a movie theatre. The design of this three-level, 300-seat place is appropriately theatrical, with a dining room dominated by a 16-foot-tall seated Buddha above a virtual reflecting pool.

Dim sum and other small plates such as rock shrimp lettuce cups, and chicken satay, as well as Chinese-style spareribs, tempura vegetables, sushi and sashimi, seafood in various guises, kung pao chicken, and a grilled Kobe ribeye with yuzu cilantro butter are among the menu choices. The Madison Square Garden Co. bought a 62.5% stake in Tao Group for $181 million in early 2017.

13. Prime 112

  • Location: Miami Beach, Florida
  • Annual sales: $23,100,000
  • Avg. check: $120
  • Meals served annually: 193,000

Miami Beach-based Myles Restaurant Group operates four restaurants and a boutique hotel within a one-block radius in trendy South Beach. The group launched this place — which it describes as “the first modern steakhouse in the United States” — in 2004.

The extensive menu includes a raw bar selection, more than 20 appetizers and salads — including such unusual choices as truffle provolone fondue and pan-seared diver scallops with slow-braised wagyu short rib — 15 different cuts and sizes of steak with 17 accompanying sauces and compound butters, 10 kinds of regular and sweet potatoes, 22 vegetable preparations, and a raft of “chef’s compositions,” from blackened local swordfish to chicken and waffles.

12. Vandal

  • Location: New York, N.Y.
  • Annual sales: $23,680,917
  • Avg. check: $80
  • Meals served annually: 215,483

Another oversized restaurant complex from the Tao Group (see No. 50, No. 14, No. 7, No. 3, and No. 1), which has been majority-owned by the Madison Square Garden Co. since last year, Vandal eschews the Asian ambiance of the Tao restaurants themselves to feature what its website styles as “the art, architecture, and food of global culture.” Graphics, multimedia works, and photographs by an international group of urban artists line the walls. It can be debated whether yellowtail crudo with blueberry and ginger, avocado toast with peas and radishes, or a 50-day-dry-aged 36-ounce tomahawk ribeye steak were “[i]nspired by street food from around the world,” as the website puts it, but there is certainly a multi-cultural flavor to such dishes as roasted squash tostadas, shawarma salad, tortilla soup dumplings, and wild mushroom “street pizza.”

11. Junior’s (Times Square)

  • Location: New York, N.Y.
  • Annual sales: $23,972,978
  • Avg. check: $24
  • Meals served annually: 950,000

Since the original was opened in 1950 in Brooklyn, Junior’s has been famous for its New York-style cheesecake. The menu goes far beyond that, though, with a full deli-style selection of blintzes and potato pancakes, deli sandwiches (including four Reuben variations), burgers, and entrees, including brisket of beef and Hungarian beef goulash. Less in the deli mode are such appetizers as Thai ginger BBQ wings, disco fries, and seven barbecue shrimp, chicken, and ribs choices. When this first Junior’s in Manhattan’s Times Square neighborhood opened in 2006, according to the restaurant website, its “Brooklyn NY” sign confused would-be customers who thought they’d come out of the subway at the wrong stop. There’s a newer Junior’s four blocks north, as well as outposts at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut and in Boca Raton, Florida.

10. Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • Annual sales: $24,700,825
  • Avg. check: $75
  • Meals served annually: 363,301

The suburban Rosemount extension of this old-style steakhouse made this list at No. 36, but this is the Near North Side Chicago original. It opened its doors in 1989 in the space that once housed the legendary club Mister Kelly’s, where the likes of Bette Midler, Sarah Vaughan, and Muddy Waters once appeared. Gibsons was the first restaurant group in the country to be granted its own USDA Prime certification, and it serves only Midwestern grass-fed Black Angus beef plus a couple of 75-day-aged Australian grass-fed cuts. The menu is similar to that at the Rosemount restaurant, and prices are basically the same.

 (Photo: Photo by Katherine R. via Yelp)

9. Bryant Park Grill & Cafe

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Annual sales: $25,400,000
  • Avg. check: $50 (est.)
  • Meals served annually: 420,000

In the early 1980s, Manhattan’s centrally located Bryant Park, behind the New York Public Library’s main branch, was an unkempt no-go landscape where dope dealers and other disreputable types plied their trades. Today, it is a major destination, hosting over a thousand free activities, classes, and events each year as well as a popular Winter Village of shops — and this beautifully situated restaurant, opened in 1995 in a latticed pavilion and environs.

Breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and all-day café service are available here. The menu is international in flavor, ranging from Moroccan lamb kebab and sashimi tuna taco appetizers to such main dishes as sweet and spicy monkfish and grilled chicken fricassée. Ark Restaurants, which operates 22 establishments in six states and Washington, D.C., runs the place.

8. Smith & Wollensky

  • Location: New York, N.Y.
  • Annual sales: $25,961,337
  • Avg. check: $100
  • Meals served annually: 296,723

Born in 1977, this classic steakhouse was named totally at random, with “Smith” and “Wollensky” chosen from a New York City phone book. The man behind it was Alan Stillman, who a dozen years earlier had created T.G.I. Fridays. He described the steakhouse originally as “the American version of the French restaurants I loved in France.” Since its founding, Smith & Wollensky grew into a small chain, which today has nine venues around the country and one in London. In 2007, however, Stillman sold the company to the Patina Restaurant Group, keeping the Manhattan original for himself.

Prime dry-aged steaks form the heart of the relatively restrained menu, but there are also such traditional dishes as Caesar salad, New England clam chowder, lemon pepper chicken, and Dover sole meunière. Wine lovers appreciate the thrice-yearly Wine Week promotion, which offers samples of 10 different wines with lunch or dinner for $20.

7. Lavo New York

  • Location: New York, N.Y.
  • Annual sales: $26,822,655
  • Avg. check: $85
  • Meals served annually: 200,000

The Tao Group (see No. 50, No. 14, No. 3, and No. 1) turns to Italy for inspiration for this restaurant and nightclub. Antique mirrors, reclaimed subway tiles, and old factory bricks frame the dining room.

The menu offers a few surprises, but covers such basics as baked clams oreganato, Maine lobster cocktail, “The Meatball,” an assortment of pizzas and pastas, chicken Marsala, and grilled red snapper with panzanella salad. The subterranean herringbone-tiled nightclub boasts a sunken dancefloor, raised VIP sections, and a multitude of LED screens.

6. The Boathouse Orlando

  • Location: Orlando, Florida
  • Annual sales: $30,814,369
  • Avg. check: $43
  • Meals served annually: 643,829

Appropriately for the theme-park capital of Orlando, The Boathouse at Walt Disney World Resort at Disney Springs offers rides of a sort itself: 25-minute tours of Disney Springs landmarks in vintage Amphicars and a cruise across Lake Buena Vista, and a scenic river-way in a 40-foot-long Venetian water taxi.

If being out on open water works up customers’ appetites, they can feast in the waterfront dining room on the likes of firecracker shrimp, hoisin chili calamari, New England lobster roll, panko-fried fish of the day, or filet mignon Oscar style, with lump crab, asparagus, and béanaise. Chicago’s Gibsons Restaurant Group (see No. 36 and No. 10) is in charge here.

5. Old Ebbitt Grill

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Annual sales: $32,662,051
  • Avg. check: $39
  • Meals served annually: 1,072,293

This historic Washington establishment was founded as a boarding house in 1856. It evolved into a saloon and then an eating place, occupying numerous locations over the decades. The owners of Georgetown restaurant Clyde’s bought it at a federal tax auction in 1970 — this was the beginning of what is today the Clyde’s Restaurant Group (see No. 16) — and it moved a final time in 1983.

The clubby dining room, with its Old Bar behind carved glass panels, serves mostly all-American fare with an occasional Southern accent, including fried green tomatoes, oyster gumbo, cornmeal-crusted fried catfish, along with a couple of steaks, a few pastas, and a choice of sandwiches and burgers.

 (Photo: Photo by Doug G. via Yelp)

4. Carmine’s (New York)

  • Location: New York, N.Y.
  • Annual sales: $33,147,017
  • Avg. check: $33
  • Meals served annually: 396,871

A 1990 uptown evocation of an old-school New York Italian-American family restaurant, Carmine’s — which subsequently spawned branches in Times Square and in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., and the Bahamas — is famous for its gargantuan family-style portions and generously poured cocktails.

All the crowd-pleasers are here: stuffed mushrooms, fried zucchini, hot or cold antipasto plates, roasted peppers with anchovies, pasta with white or red clam sauce, manicotti, penne alla vodka, chicken scarpiello, veal parmigiana, shrimp scampi, tiramisù, and on and on. A special allergy menu caters to those with dairy and egg, wheat/gluten, and garlic allergies as well as to vegetarians and vegans.

3. Tao Downtown

  • Location: New York, N.Y.
  • Annual sales: $33,401,819
  • Avg. check: $95
  • Meals served annually: 311,945

The dramatic decor in this downtown sibling of Tao Uptown (see No. 14) includes a gigantic reclining Buddha, a 24-armed standing Quan Yin Buddha, 3D animated projections of flowing waterfalls and growing moss, and mixed-media murals by British urban artist HUSH. The restaurant’s website says that the place “is intended to look and feel as if it has been there for decades and only unearthed recently …”

The pan-Asian menu includes dim sum, yakitori, tempura, a number of noodle and rice selections, sushi and sashimi, and numerous seafood, poultry, and meat dishes. The majority owner of the Tao group is now the Madison Square Garden Co., which owns sports teams and various entertainment venues around the country in addition to its iconic namesake.

2. Joe’s Stone Crab

  • Location: Miami Beach, Florida
  • Annual sales: $37,243,159
  • Avg. check: $80
  • Meals served annually: 316,000

Joe’s founder Joe Weiss “discovered” stone crabs. He and his wife had opened a lunch stand in Miami Beach in 1913. In 1921, a visiting ichthyologist from Harvard brought him a sack of these crustaceans. At first, Joe thought nobody would eat them, but he tried boiling and then chilling them, and they were a hit. In 2000, Chicago’s Let Us Entertain You restaurant group went into partnership with Weiss’s descendents to open a hybrid called Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab (see No. 20 and No. 17), but the original remains a one-of-a-kind operation.

Besides the signature claws — fresh stone crabs are in season from October 15 to May 15 — the large menu offers plenty of other seafood, including oysters, snapper and shrimp ceviche, crab cannelloni, potato-crusted mahi mahi, and even skirt steak tacos and steak frites. If you can’t get to Joe’s in person, the restaurant ships “Claws for Celebration” packages, featuring stone crab claws, the house mustard sauce, a cracking board, a mallet, cocktail forks, and bibs. Prices range from $138.95 for medium claws for two to $1,251.95 for jumbo claws for 10.

1. Tao Las Vegas     • Location: Las Vegas, NV     • Annual sales: $42,470,345     • Avg. check: $90     • Meals served annually: 226,146     Installed in the Venetian Hotel, Tao Las Vegas encompasses a restaurant — self-described as an “Asian bistro,” but bigger than any bistro should be — a 10,000-square-foot Thursday-through-Saturday nightclub, and a weekend poolside “beach club.” The menu is similar to that at other Taos (see No. 3 and No. 14), with dim sum, sushi and sashimi, rice and noodle dishes, and various entrees.     It’s possible, however, that between its glamorous lounge, its beach club, and its nightclub — where celebrity sightings have included Madonna, Jay Z, Drake, Kim Kardashian, and Jamie Foxx — dinner here is almost beside the point. The Madison Square Garden Co., which bought a majority stake in the Tao Group in 2017, owns various entertainment venues in addition to sports teams and the Garden itself.     ALSO READ: Worst County to Live in Every State (Photo: Getty Images / Getty Images for Strategic Group)

1. Tao Las Vegas

  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Annual sales: $42,470,345
  • Avg. check: $90
  • Meals served annually: 226,146

Installed in the Venetian Hotel, Tao Las Vegas encompasses a restaurant — self-described as an “Asian bistro,” but bigger than any bistro should be — a 10,000-square-foot Thursday-through-Saturday nightclub, and a weekend poolside “beach club.” The menu is similar to that at other Taos (see No. 3 and No. 14), with dim sum, sushi and sashimi, rice and noodle dishes, and various entrees.

It’s possible, however, that between its glamorous lounge, its beach club, and its nightclub — where celebrity sightings have included Madonna, Jay Z, Drake, Kim Kardashian, and Jamie Foxx — dinner here is almost beside the point. The Madison Square Garden Co., which bought a majority stake in the Tao Group in 2017, owns various entertainment venues in addition to sports teams and the Garden itself.

24/7 Wall Street is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news and commentary. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2vTdqUv

Source

NO COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY

5 × four =