Obsessed with celebs? You’ll want to know all about these UK restaurants that are owned by the rich and famous
In our current era of celebrity, it’s nigh-on impossible to go a day without seeing an article about a Kardashian’s latest outfit or another salacious incident involving a famous chef. So it should come as no surprise that in the age of Instagram, some of the most recognised names in the country are cashing in our twin obsessions of food and celebrity by combining their star power with our hunger to sit next to a famous face – or at least eat in a restaurant owned by one.
The beautiful grain
The Pig's Ear
Take Frank Lampard, who opened Chelsea boozer The Pig’s Ear in 2008. The charming pub serves up British comfort food alongside ciders and ales.
Lampard is far from the only footballer to dip his toe in the restaurant world though, with former Manchester United teammates Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs joining forces to launch the Café Football brand. The original site is at the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford and combines footie-themed interiors with a pun-tastic menu of ‘pre-match warm up’ and high-protein ‘eat like a pro’ options.
Not all footballer-owned restaurants are casual affairs though – just take Rio Ferdinand’s glamorous Manchester haunt Rosso. The chance of a celeb sighting is a strong lure for customers here, while the Instagram-friendly interiors are backed up with a please-all menu of simple Italian dishes.
Whatever your opinion on reality television, there’s no denying its omnipresence on our screens, with viewers transfixed by the glamorous lives of the Real Housewives as much as the zany antics of the Geordie Shore cast. A few shrewd reality TV folk have managed to turn their popularity into financial success by opening a restaurant, which they regularly show up to and feature on their social media, luring guests in with the chance of meeting them.
TOWIE’s Megan McKenna opened her McK Grill (which sounds more than a little like a high-end McDonald’s) in Essex in 2017 and, rather cleverly, made it a filming location for a handful of TOWIE scenes.
Unluckily for Made in Chelsea sisters Lucy and Tiffany Watson, they’d both already departed the show that made them famous before venturing into the world of food. Their vegan restaurant Tell Your Friends opened in early 2018, boasting a menu of meaty mimicry including ‘chicken’ bites and ‘fish’ & chips. Unsurprisingly, the restaurant is also dog-friendly, meaning you can bring your handbag Chihuahua along.
London’s restaurant scene may have been considered a bit of a joke 30 years ago, but these days international restaurant imports are coming in thick and fast. The most famous celebrity example is Robert De Niro, who has been involved in all three London Nobus since the first opened on Park Lane in 1997. The most recent London outpost of the international mega brand opened in Shoreditch in 2017, which many viewed as the final gentrifying nail in the coffin of the formerly hip area.
Elsewhere, actor and former underwear model Mark Wahlberg opened his Wahlburgers concept in tourist-friendly Covent Garden, while another Covent Garden restaurant, Japanese-Mediterranean Zela, is owned by a hospitality group backed by Cristiano Ronaldo, Enrique Iglesias and Rafael Nadal.
While not every celebrity venture in the restaurant world has succeeded (anybody remember the supermodel-backed Fashion Café?), it’s clear that as long as the stars of the small and large screen continue to fill column inches, they’ll also keep trying to fill our stomachs.
Just don’t forget to be selfie-ready, you never know who you might run into.