America's Favorite Athlete-Owned Restaurants

America ranks its own favorite jock-owned eateries
America's Favorite Athlete-Owned Restaurants
Composite by Arthur Bovino

What are the best athlete-owned restaurants? Immediately after publishing The Daily Meal's 10 Best Athlete-Owned Restaurants, suggestions poured in. "You forgot Joe Theismann's in Alexandria, Va., which has been in business since the '70s," one noted. And another, "Tiffany's, owned by Tony Siragusa should be on this list, great ribs." If fans' suggestions for Americans' favorite athlete-owned restaurants are to be believed, the biggest loser in the wake of the resolution of the NFL work stoppage may be America's culinary community. Most picks are backed by NFL football players, and with players preparing for training camp, they won't have time to plan what could be the next favorite athlete-owned restaurant.

Click for America's Favorite Athlete-Owned Restaurants Slideshow.

Some suggestions weren't as helpful or informed as the commenters might have hoped. The two restaurants owned by former Met Rusty Staub, shut down years ago by all accounts, are company on a long list of other closed eateries once owned by athletes.

Matt McCue's original list was solid, one that went well beyond general sports-affiliated restaurants (for those check out 20 Sports-Crazy Restaurants). For full reasoning and dish recommendations you'll want to revisit the slideshow. But for a quick refresher, The Daily Meal's 10 Best Athlete-Owned Restaurants included (in no order):

Vince Young Steakhouse (Austin)
Wayne Gretzky’s (Toronto)
Dan Marino’s Restaurant (Vegas and Miami)
Elway's (Denver)
Greg Norman’s Australian Grille (Myrtle Beach, S.C.)
The Kingfish Café (Seattle)
Market Del Mar (Del Mar, Calif.)
Annie Laura’s Kitchen (Riverdale, Ga.)
Shorts Burger and Shine (Iowa City, Iowa)
One SixtyBlue (Chicago)

But some reader suggestions might have made an extended version of that list. So to give a more widespread idea of some of the country's other favorite athlete-owned restaurants, this is a look at a longer list of places affiliated with heroes of the turf, diamond, rink, and hardwood. You may be familiar with some of them — how can you have missed the more than 30 locations of Shula's? And anyone who has gone to a Suns game in Phoenix, or waited for Pizzeria Bianco to open knows that Thunder Dan has a place downtown. But you may not be as familiar with some of these other joints.

There's a full list of the restaurants below (including a section of restaurants gone, but not forgotten), but for the interesting details, you'll really want to check out the full slideshow.

Click for America's Favorite Athlete-Owned Restaurants Slideshow.


Joe Theismann's (Alexandria, Va.)
Bubba's Q (Avon, Ohio)
Shula's (More than 30 locations)
Island Way Grill (Clearwater, Fla.)
Tiffany's (Five locations)
Randy White's BBQ (Frisco, Texas)
Yao Restaurant & Bar (Houston)
Lee Roy Selmon's (7 locations in South Florida)
Majerle's (Phoenix)
Wolfley's (Phoenix)
Brett Favre's Steakhouse (Green Bay)
Ditka's (Pittsburgh; Chicago; Oakbrook, Ill.)
Fred & Steve's Steakhouse (Lincoln, R.I.)
Tresca (Boston)
Billy Sims' Barbecue (17 locations)
Seau's (San Diego)
Jerome Bettis’ Grille 36 (Pittsburgh)


Gone, But Not Forgotten... But Still Gone, or Not Athlete-Owned

You can't blame many athlete-owned restaurants for having closed. It takes a lot of fame and staying power or truly excellent food for places to outlive the glories of the gridiron. As noted above, there's no shame in the long list of now-closed, once-athlete-owned restaurants. Still, it's always funny to see people get outraged about things they're wrong about. For instance, getting upset about places not being included on a list when they can't possibly be vouching for food quality any more recently than 16 years ago (Johnny Unitas' Golden Arm), or more (Rusty's, 20 years ago).

Rusty's (New York City)
Johnny Unitas' Golden Arm Restaurant (Baltimore)
Bunz and Company (Roseville, Calif.)
Jared Allen's Sport Arena & Grill (Kansas City, Mo.)
Ziggy & Mad Dog's (Islamorado, Fla.)
Michael Jordan's Steakhouse (New York City and Uncasville, Conn.)