Mark Wahlberg's burger empire just announced plans to expand to 118 burger shops over the next few years—but not every celebrity who has dabbled in the dining business has done quite so well. Will Jessica Biel's brand-new L.A. restaurant thrive, or will it crash and burn? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, here are five celebs who were forced to close the kitchen a little earlier than they bargained for.
Justin Timberlake, Destino
Timberlake's Midtown Manhattan restaurant had all the makings of success when it opened in 2006. In addition to having the hot singer-actor's name attached as a co-owner, the place had a former chef from legendary NYC spot Rao's at the helm, plus a celeb clientele, and it got promising early reviews. The problem seemed to be with, believe it or not, the plumbing. The restaurant shut down temporarily a couple of times due to "flooding" over the years, and, according to court papers released last year during a civil suit between the restaurant and its insurance company, it finally closed permanently in 2013 after raw sewage began running down the walls in 2013. Yep, that'll do it. Timberlake also co-founded the BBQ spot Southern Hospitality, which is still in business, though it got some unwanted publicity last year when it was cited for health code violations.
Britney Spears, NYLA
Timberlake's fellow pop star and one-time girlfriend fared far worse in the restaurant biz. Britney Spears partnered with chef/restaurateur Bobby Ochs in 2002 to open NYLA (the name a nod to both New York, where the restaurant was located, and Louisiana, where Spears comes from). It was initially touted as a reasonably priced American brasserie and a hip, hot, sexy New York lounge," as MTV.com wrote at the time. But the whole thing turned cold quickly when Spears walked away from the restaurant a mere five months after it opened, thanks in part, she said, to "management's failure to keep her fully apprised." According to The Smoking Gun, the restaurant filed for bankruptcy the following year amid $400,000 in unpaid bills to creditors.
Jennifer Lopez, Madre's
The year 2002 was a big one for J-Lo. Not only did she get engaged to Ben Affleck (remember the Gigli days?) but she also opened her very own restaurant, the Latin-inspired Madre's in Pasadena, California, with a menu based on her mother's cooking. Feedback on the food wasn't great, and it was well-documented that the restaurant's famous owner barely ever set foot in the place. Then PETA made headlines when a group protested Lopez's fur-wearing habit outside the restaurant. The place shuttered abruptly in 2008 and Lopez never tried her hand at restaurants again.
Chrissie Hynde, VegiTerranean
The Pretenders' front-woman opened a vegan restaurant in her hometown of Akron, Ohio, in 2007 with high hopes of expanding to other cities in Ohio, as well as Las Vegas. What she ended up with instead was a web of lawsuits, liens and unpaid back taxes, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. Hynde announced the restaurant's closing on its Facebook page in 2011. "This has been a labor of love for us for the last four years. We tried everything we could to keep the restaurant going but unfortunately due to the current economic climate this has not been possible," she wrote. "I'd like to THANK everybody who helped me fulfill my dream. I discovered that vegan cuisine in Ohio has become more appreciated than I imagined."
Flavor Flav, Flav's Fried Chicken
Before the rapper-turned-reality-star started giving the morning weather report in Utah (oh, you hadn't heard?), Flav attempted to take the fried chicken world by storm when he opened the blink-and-you-probably-missed it Flav's Fried Chicken in Clinton, Iowa in early 2011 with local restaurateur Nick Cimino. "You’re going to find me in here working. You’re going to be catching me seasoning my chicken, flouring my chicken, frying up my chicken," he told the Clinton Herald when it launched. He didn't do much of it for very long, however. Three months later, the restaurant was gone, with Flav accusing his partner of mismanagement (and serving expired potato salad) and Cimino saying Flav didn't know anything about the restaurant business. Flav later gave the hospitality biz another shot with Flavor Flav's Chicken & Ribs in Las Vegas and Sterling, Heights, Michigan, but both attempts failed. There's always meteorology …
Want more of The Feast in your life? Like us on Facebook!
The Feast is Bravo’s digital destination serving culinary inspiration and essential food news. Like us on Facebook and visit daily for diet and wellness trends, kitchen hacks and tools — and the buzziest celebrity, chef, and restaurant happenings you need to know about right now.