Nothing is sadder than when celebrities dabble in the food-service industry and fail miserably at it -- except when the food fails are so completely predictable that even a dumb-as-a-rock celebrity should have known better. Over the weekend the lady-centric (and arguably un-feminist) steakhouse SHe by Morton's that Eva Longoria opened in 2012 shuttered; it appears to have died faster than Longoria's straight-to-video film Carlita's Secret. But this former Desperate Housewife is far from the first celeb to have a flash-in-the-pan eatery flame out. And as long as there are limelight-hungry (but oversaturated) beautiful people willing to lend their names to restaurant ventures, she will not be the last.
Here are the top five failed celebrity restaurants. It sure doesn't pay to have too much on your plate at one time.
5) Chrissie Hynde's VegiTerranean
Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde opened the VegiTerranean vegan restaurant in Akron, Ohio, in late 2007, and then cited the shitty economy as the reason it closed up shop in 2011. Hynde was putting her money where her mouth was in creating this meatless mirage in Ohio, of all places, and since she is a vegetarian, animal-rights activist and supporter of both PETA and Viva!, her vegan bakery, coffee house, bar and restaurant concept probably seemed like the best idea since sprouted wheat bread. But the vegan eatery idea was probably a bit more Portland than Akron, and unfortunately didn't make her much brass in pocket.
Perhaps if Hynde had waited tables in her iconic waitress outfit from the video, the place would have stayed open a tad longer -- but now we will never know.
4) Britney Spears' NYLA Nineties pop princess Britney Spears loaned her name-fame to NYLA (it stands for New York and Los Angeles, her favorite cities) in 2002, but her Southern-fusion American bistro concept suffered from the same identity crises as Spears herself from the get-go. The Manhattan eatery was plagued with such problems such as menu flip-flops (from weird Cajun food to more traditional Italian), health-code violations, ripped-off vendors and outright mismanagement. NYLA lasted six months before it went into bankruptcy and closed, and there may have been a few people shocked by this.
The moral of this story is...schoolgirl skirts and magical dance moves are all fine and well, but running a restaurant takes actual experience and dedication and if you don't know d*cks from donuts about it, don't do it.
3) Eva Longoria's SHe by Morton's
Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria's short-lived female-centric steakhouse, SHe by Morton's, was parked in a posh Las Vegas strip shopping center, featured a catwalk (yes, you are all now stuck with that Too Sexy song in your heads for the rest of the day), diminutive portion sizes for ladies' delicate appetites, and mirrors on the backs of the dessert menus for lipstick checks. Apparently this womanly steakhouse was just a bit too pink in the middle to thrive, even in Vegas. The restaurant ostensibly closed over the weekend due to a disagreement with the landlord over the space, but it's possible that a business plan patronizing women just didn't turn women into loyal patrons.
Longoria's dainty meat venture was probably a bit too Sex in the City campy to survive long. So sorry, Eva--your customers just weren't that into you. Keep reading for two more celebrity restaurant fails.
2) Madre's by Jennifer Lopez
Everyone's favorite ghetto-to-riches girl, Jennifer Lopez, decided to expand her J-Lo empire to include a ritzy Cuban eatery named Madre's in 2002. The restaurant actually stuck around for six years -- which is practically a Hollywood lifetime, and far longer than most of Lopez's relationships have lasted. The Pasadena, California restaurant was all white-linen tablecloths and crystal chandeliers, and Lopez described it as being a "family restaurant with a little bit of sexiness to it" (I thought that was TGI Friday's?!?). While it appeared to be popular and thriving, Lopez is the poster girl for celeb project saturation -- so it's not that surprising that she couldn't spare the time to hype Cuban food, no matter how delicious it was.
Hopefully J-Lo figured out that running a restaurant is about as time-consuming as making a marriage work, but she seems to learn the hard way. So who knows what her next restaurant -- or relationship -- will be.
1) Hulk Hogan's Pastamania!
Hulk Hogan, the professional wrestling hero of the 1980s, made the questionable choice to cash in on his fame in 1995 when his Pastamania! Restaurant opened in the the Mall of America in Minnesota. The Hulkster's decidedly lowbrow pasta place made Fazoli's look like fine dining, and featured such delicacies as "Hulk-U's" and "Hulk-A-Roos." Despite being shamelessly -- and loudly -- plugged by World Championship Wrestling's Monday Nitro, Hulk's pasta place closed in less than a year. But Hulk fans have no reason to cry over spilt spaghetti sauce -- or Hogan's bygone wrestling career (thanks to his sojourn into reality television, he does that enough on his own) -- because the Hulk opened a new eat spot, Hogan's Beach, in Tampa in January 2013.
Hogan describes the new eatery as being "total muscle beach Baywatch experience a la Hogan," and there is even a mechanical shark. So best of luck to the Hulkster's new dive. Despite the mixed reviews, perhaps this one won't end up shuttered, abandoned and almost forgotten -- because we couldn't forget Hulk Hogan no matter how much we try.
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