To reach A-list celebrity status,
there is a checklist: launch a cheesy
perfume line, appear in an "accidental" photograph partying with Paris Hilton and two
midgets covered in cocaine, and do an Oprah interview that brings everyone to tears. Once you have achieved all that, you
must open a restaurant.
Here in the Magic City, we are proud to be the launching pad
of several failed restaurateurs (Cameron Diaz, Madonna, Michael Caine), if only
because their futile culinary explorations resulted in better movies, music,
and whatever it is Caine does. But we are also home to some celeb-owned
eateries that found success. Here are our top five.
5. DeVito South Beach
150 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
Pint-sized actor Danny DeVito is part-owner of this Ocean Drive eatery that serves upscale Italian fare. The history of the restaurant is nearly as engrossing as one of his blockbuster productions. Just in the past year, DeVito's was the subject of a tipping scandal and ten food safety violations. Hence, its exile to the end of the list.
4. Offerdahl's Café Grill
195 SE 3rd Ave., Miami
John Offerdahl probably took the strangest path on the celebrity-restaurant bandwagon. He started in the bagel business after a brother-in-law came up with an invention for a new oven that made them faster. That string of bagel shops are now Einstein Brothers Bagels after Boston Market bought them out. But the former Dolphins linebacker still serves up bagel creations at Offerdahl's Café Grill, a fast food spot with two locations in Miami
3. Shula's Steakhouse
225 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
After retiring from his post as Miami Dolphins coach, Don
Shula threw his money into the restaurant business, with a string of
steakhouses and sports grills all over the United
States, including 347 Grill in Coral
Gables, named after his record 347 victories.
But Shula didn't relegate himself to ultra cheesy chains à la Dan Marino
entirely, opening an upscale waterfront restaurant at the Alexander
Hotel, Shula's Steakhouse. Although,
on second thought, the menus are printed
2. Larios on the Beach
820 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
Undoubtedly, Gloria Estefan is one of Miami's
most ambitious culinary celebs. She has the Cuban food market cornered with
Larios on the Beach, an upbeat live-music venue featuring traditional cuisine
on Ocean Drive that was the
first, and arguably best, of her ventures. Next came several locations of Bongo's
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Cuban Café, and Oriente at Cardozo, a failed attempt at Asian-Cuban fusion
1. Ago Restaurant
1901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
Robert De Niro is one of the forces behind this poolside Tuscan-inspired restaurant located on the patio of the Shore Club. The actor is a mini-mogul of the restaurant business--he also owns Locanda Verde and Tribeca Grill in New York, Nobu with its dozens of locations, and two more outposts of Ago Restaurant in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.