Athletes are more than just players you watch for entertainment. Sure, Usain Bolt is capable of running the 100 meters faster than any person alive. Yes, LeBron James is an NBA icon and Tony Hawk is a skateboarding icon. Those are great accomplishments but it’s not all their capable of accomplishing. After the lights go out on their professional sports careers, some superstars put their entrepreneurial spirits into overdrive. For some, a relatively frequent business venture involves opening restaurants. Whether they’re still around or shut down after a year, here are some of the best known athlete-owned restaurants!
Ray Allen Keeps Things Fresh With Grown
Ray Allen is an NBA champion and one of the greatest three-point shooters of all-time. He left his mark on the league and is now trying to do the same for the rest of the world with the help of his wife, Shannon Allen. The happy couple owns and operates Grown, a restaurant that uses local and organic ingredients for every meal of the day.
The mission statement on their website starts off with how they “believe food should be delicious, organic and inspiring. It’s not made, it’s not manufactured, it’s grown.” Everything on the menu can also be vegan or vegetarian upon request. You can find Grown in South Miami.
Skate Up An Appetite With Wayne Gretzky
The greatest on the ice set out to create a haven that any sports lover wouldn’t want to leave, especially if they’re from Toronto, Canada. Fittingly named Wayne Gretzky’s, and a short walking distance from the Air Canada Center and Rogers Center, this is the place you want to visit to enjoy a game if you’re in the area.
It’s more than just a restaurant. It’s a sports bar featuring a rooftop patio with Gretzky’s personal collection of memorabilia displayed throughout the establishment. Did we mention there is 40 HDTV’s inside?
Enjoy Some Steaks Courtesy Of Don Shula
The most winningest coach and one fabulous player by the name of Don Shula has a beautiful array of restaurants. The coalition of them all goes by Shula’s Restaurants, but the main location is Shula’s Steak House located in Miami Lakes.
“Shula’s dedication to quality extends to our service standards, which deliver an overall dining experience that consistently exceeds our customers’ expectations,” an excerpt from Shula’s reads. The wide range of meats varies from porterhouse, cowboy ribeye, New York sirloin, filet mignon, and Kansas City strip.
Vince Young Tackles Steak
Collegiate National Championship winner and former NFL quarterback Vince Young is another athlete taking on the Steakhouse business. The menu is to die for with deep-fried Texas quail, pork belly, smoked brisket sliders, and much more.
The website reads: “Surround yourself in our elegant dining room, maybe by the fireplace with your guest or in an intimate booth for a romantic evening. Whatever the occasion, at the Vince Young Steakhouse, we look forward to providing you with an exceptional dining experience that you are sure to remember.” At first glance, it looks like you’re going to enjoy an exquisite meal.
Arnold Palmer Gets Voted Number One
Arnold Palmer provides more than just that addictive half tea, half lemonade drink concoction. The legendary former golfer has one of the highest rated restaurants located in La Quinta, California.
The name of his place is Arnold Palmer’s Restaurant, and it opened in 2004. According to their Facebook page, the restaurant became “voted #1 Restaurant in La Quinta by Trip Advisor and voted in the top 100 Alfresco restaurants in the country by OpenTable diners.”
Usain Bolt Aims To Please
Usain Bolt could only dominate the track for so long before Father Time won the battle. Now that he’s officially retired, Bolt chose to dip into new ventures to keep his net worth going up after losing revenue from the sport he was the king of for years. Enter, Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records.
With three locations in Jamaica, one in the United Kingdom, and plans for more to open soon, Bolt aims to bring an authentic Jamaican taste to your life. The fastest man ever wants to ensure that “you would not just be getting a ‘taste of home’ but that real Jamaican vibes that the world has grown to love.”
Wine And Dine At Clyde’s
The former New York Knick Walt “Clyde” Frazier crushed opponents on the court and looks to be trying to do the same in the restaurant business after Clyde Frazier’s Wine And Dine opened. It’s a sports-themed (who would have guessed) restaurant, bar, and lounge.
Based off what they have on their website, it sounds like a dream come true for food and sports lovers. “With its free-throw basketball court and over 40 television screens with unlimited access to your favorite sports events, it’s a place where fans and foodies alike can revel in a lively and festive atmosphere,” the restaurant’s website proclaims.
England’s Finest, Rosso Restaurant
In November 2009, former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand opened a very posh Italian restaurant. If Ferdinand pays the same attention to detail that he did on the pitch to his restaurant, you can bet that it’s a fine establishment.
In 2016, the Food Awards in England named it the Restaurant of the Year! Based off this picture alone, you can tell that going inside of this fine-dining spot must feel like you’re in a royal setting. Eating somewhere like this might be on a few people’s bucket list.
Grab Some Finger Licking Good BBQ!
Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims opened his first restaurant in 2004 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The running back has always had a passion for BBQ, and that’s where this idea came from after meeting his business partner in the early 2000s.
The growth of the franchise is tremendous. A quote from the website reads: “Celebrating its 14th year, Billy Sims Barbecue is a 50+ unit, Tulsa-based fast-casual concept serving premium barbecue and traditional sides. Billy Sims Barbecue is one of the top fast-casual barbecue restaurants in the U.S.” The sky is the limit for Sims!
Grab Some Great Eats At Tony Hawk’s Market
Arguably the most famous skateboarder of all-time, Tony Hawk has a dining establishment that everyone in the southern California area should give a try. Hawk is a self-proclaimed foodie, so that should let you know how serious he takes this establishment.
You can find it in the beautiful city of Del Mar of San Diego County, so not only can you get a dish with hand-selected, locally grown ingredients, one can venture off to the beach afterward and enjoy some sun rays.
John Elway Wants You To Eat Here
John Elway will always receive an insane amount of love in Denver, where the legend won his final Super Bowl and rode off into the sunset, but on his ride, he decided to start a restaurant franchise named after himself, Elway’s.
There are a few locations, but one of the more popular venues is the one found at the Ritz-Carlton downtown Denver. “Our menu boasts USDA Prime, hand-cut steaks, Colorado Lamb, raw bar selections with fine fish, crustaceans and much more,” the website reads. “You’ll always find something new at Elway’s Downtown.”
Yao Ming Serves The Good Stuff
One of the tallest basketball players to play in the NBA and one of the most successful international players as well, Yao Ming gifts the people of Houston with Chinese and Chinese-American food at Yao Restaurant & Bar.
The place is good enough to snag the number 19 spot on The Daily Meal’s list of 25 Best Celebrity-Owned Restaurants, so that’s a good indicator that you would enjoy your meal here. You can have your fill of lettuce wraps, Kung Pao beef, or even Peking dumplings.
Manning To Open Western Inspired Restaurant
Maybe NFL players adore steaks because they all like to open steakhouses in their spare time, and now Peyton Manning will take part in the business as well. After parting ways with Papa Johns, the two-time Super Bowl champ will feed guests a western inspired meal located in Tennessee.
The name of the restaurant is Saloon 16. “The vintage saloon will boast a refined, yet old-school, experience including a jukebox, dart board, live piano, and outdoor dining,” according to a press release from AJ Capital Partners.
LeBron Teams With Blaze Pizza
LeBron James’ business mind has increased enormously since entering the league in 2003. The Lakers star is not only the top player in the NBA, but he’s also one of the highest earners too, and his part ownership of Blaze Pizza helps.
The customizable pizza shop is somewhere James and his business partner Maverick Carter wouldn’t have invested in if they didn’t think highly of it. “LeBron and I have always been about finding companies that we truly believe in and putting real money into them,” Carter said.
Carmelo Has A Thing For Pizza Too
First it was LeBron James, then Carmelo Anthony found a pizzeria to throw his money at to become a part owner. Unlike James’ Blaze Pizza which has many locations across the map, Nobody’s Pizza is only in the Bronx, with plans to open more locations in the future.
“I am excited about the prospects of partnering with The Ainsworth and Nobody’s Pizza — combining food, entertainment, sports, and real estate,” Anthony said in a statement to Side Dish.
Tiger Woods Lets You Eat Good
Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer of this generation. Even with his ups and downs, he remains composed. The golf genius followed the path of another man with a golden stroke, Arnold Palmer, and gifted the people of Jupiter, Florida with The Woods Jupiter which features a selection of American foods.
“Envisioned as a place where friends and family could come together to relax and refuel, The Woods has become a destination to celebrate like a champion,” The Woods website reports.
Everyone Loves Pizza, Including Dan Marino
We’ve now seen several players who figured pizza is the best route to go when choosing a cuisine for a restaurant. Next up, Dan Marino. The Hall of Famer partnered with Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza which has locations popping up everywhere. He even has a dish named after him called the Eggplant Marino.
Their website reads, “At Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, everything comes from our oven – from Anthony’s signature, coal-fired pizzas to his coal oven roasted chicken wings and coal-fired roasted pork ribs.” It sounds like you’re going to enjoy quality food.
Wade Scores On And Off The Court
Dwyane Wade is as savvy off the court as he was on it. The retired Miami Heat star got together with his teammate Udonis Haslem to help propel this fast-growing brand. Both of them helped introduce the west coast concept to South Florida.
“It looked like a place I can enjoy bringing my kids too, but can also tell my wife ‘let’s go on a date,’ and still indulge in something I enjoy in pizza,” Wade said about 800 Degrees Woodfired Kitchen.
Ryan Zimmerman Loves Some Oysters!
Washington Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman has a thing for seafood. The Salt Line is only a brief walk away from the stadium he plays in, so being a part owner of The Salt Line is also convenient since he can grab a plate after cranking some homers!
“Oysters thrive where fresh and salt water come together. At The Salt Line, we’re taking inspiration from that magical blend and creating a lively and welcoming experience of classic New England dishes,” their website reads. It’s perfect for before or after the game.
The Bus Has A Grille!
Jerome “The Bus” Bettis is beloved throughout Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was smart of him to open up his Jerome Bettis Grille 36 restaurant in Pittsburgh because he probably attracts a ton of customers on the strength of his name!
If you’re feeling like having a formal night out, you can order in the white tablecloth dining room. Friends are welcome to enjoy outdoor seating on the patio that has a beautiful city view. Surrounding the bar is 50 televisions, so you won’t ever miss a catch, dunk, or home run.