Hotlanta is so hot that they can even turn their airport into a club. Stay with us. A few days ago, Ludacris announced that he will close his Asian/Singaporean restaurant, Straits, and embark on a new "restaurateur" opportunity: opening a "Chicken and Beer" restaurant inside of Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International airport.
Jay-Z also put his bid in the Atlanta airport early in 2011, attempting to open another of his worldwide 40/40 Clubs. However, the mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed, denied the proposal. If the business (man) Jay-Z was scoping out the airport destination a year ago, this has to be an upcoming business trend for other restaurantrepreneurs.
It makes sense. After all, Hartsfield Jackson is the busiest airport in the world, serving over 243,000 passengers per day and 89 million passengers a year.
We have some advice for future restaurateurs: putting your restaurant in a casino was so 2011. In 2012, if you want to make some real money, put your restaurant in an airport. Here's a list of some musicians who have made it in the dining world-from casino drinking spots to sports bars to hokey Northern "Southern" style grills.
I Love This Bar & Grill (Toby Keith) Take a look at the poster for this honky-tonk hotspot...it doesn't need much more of an introduction. Keith named his restaurant after his hit song, "I Love This Bar". He owns 3 locations, 2 of which are in casinos in Las Vegas and Tulsa, Oklahoma. The menu features a prime rib simply called: "How Big A Boy Are Ya?" Oh, and you're liable to get booted out if you ask for french fries. They're still called "freedom fries" in Okla-damn-homa.
Wing Stop (Rick Ross) Memphis, Tennessee. Ross suffered two seizures before the grand opening of the franchise, but still managed to make it to the ceremony. He tweeted this picture -- look hard and you can see his sling.
Sugar Bar (Ashford and Simpson) Even though Sugar Bar has been in business since 1996, we think they might be in need of new management. According to the website, Nick Ashford performs every Tuesday night. The bar was founded by the late Ashford and wife Valerie Simpson and serves drinks and desserts to the Upper West Side of New York City. The bar is famous for its open mic nights, showcasing local and national R&B, jazz, and soul acts.
40/40 (Jay-Z) The rapper opened his first sports bar in New York City in 2003. Since then, he's expanded to two other locations in Atlantic City, New Jersey and Las Vegas. Although Jigga is an incredibly successful entrepreneur, he's been in a bit of trouble because of 40/40. His Las Vegas location closed only eight months after its grand opening. Also, employees at the New York location filed suit against the company for not distributing their paychecks. Jay-Z's defense attorney at the time later filed suit against him for not paying him for his services during the trial.
Mickey Gilley's Texas Café Gilley set his sights on Branson, Missouri long before the city became a boom-town for country music. No doubt, Gilley's, his famous Houston bar that was featured in the movie Urban Cowboy before burning down in 1990, undoubtedly served as the inspiration for his restaurant: the menu includes jalapeno poppers, Tex-Mex burgers, and a "Heart of Texas" ribeye steak.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Southern Hospitality (Justin Timberlake) Timberlake is a co-owner of this Tennessee style barbeque joint, located on the Upper East Side of New York. Guests can choose from "firestarters", like lobster lollipops, and follow with chicken and waffles, fried chicken, and a vast spread of Southern style barbeque. Timberlake frequents S.H., and occasionally drops by for surprise acoustic sets.
Cabo Wabo (Sammy Hagar) The original Cabo Wabo Cantina began in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in 1990. The cantina was initially a financial failure, but under new management it began to flourish with tourists. Soon there was a new spot in Lake Tahoe and a third addition in the Planet Hollywood Casino in Las Vegas. Hagar's been known to pop in for impromptu performances. Another reason why we probably won't ever go. That, and there's a nacho plate called "I Can't Drive $55 Nachos."
Gladys and Ron's Chicken And Waffles (Gladys Knight and Ron Winans) In a city where soul food plays a big role in the restaurant business, the empress of soul, Gladys Knight, and late gospel singer Ron Winans founded the famous Georgia dining destination. Since opening, Knight's son Shangra has taken over. The restaurant has two locations in Georgia: Atlanta and Lithonia.
Alice Cooperstown You've probably seen a few Food Network specials showcasing the food at Cooperstown, located in Phoenix. The sports bar is "Where Jocks and Rock Meet". The featured item is the "Big Unit", a 22-inch Vienna beef hotdog. Most of the entrees on the menu are named after Cooper's famous friends and personal heroes, including Joy Behar, Anthony Bourdain, Tom Brady, and Bruce Lee.