By John Friia
From actors to music icons, celebrities are venturing into the restaurant industry and bringing their favorite cuisines to New York City. Whether people are in the mood for Italian, seafood or barbecue, they can dine like a star at one of these local celebrity-owned restaurants.
Chazz Palminteri Ristorante Italiano
890 Second Avenue
New York, NY
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After New Yorkers see “A Bronx Tale: The Musical” by Chazz Palminteri, they can head to his namesake restaurant in Midtown. Serving Southern-style Italian food, Chazz Palminteri Ristorante Italiano brings back a bygone era of Italian hospitality to the city. The extensive menu does not skimp on favorite dishes, including Pappardelle Bolognese with homemade pappardelle noodles sautéed in a meat sauce, or the Gnocchi di Patate con Ragu with veal ragout sauce topped with shaved Parmesan. Diners should not be surprised to see the beloved actor enjoying a meal and chatting up with guests when he is in the city.
Mermaid Oyster Bar
79 MacDougal Street
New York, NY
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A piece of New England is in Greenwich Village with Zach Braff’s Mermaid Oyster Bar. From the west coast to the east coast, the restaurant serves various oysters dishes, along with other meals like the Roasted Atlantic Salmon with mushroom dashi, kabocha and Brussel leaves. Mermaid Oyster Bar also creates an interactive experience with their Oysterpedia app, which educates diners about the various oysters they can order and is a reference tool for oysters they’ve already tried.
Laughing Man Coffee & Tea
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New Yorkers can forget about the national coffee shops and head to Laughing Man Coffee & Tea, which adds a smile to everyone’s face. With locations in Tribeca and the Financial District, the coffee shop is co-owned by Hugh Jackman and follows their mission of self-sustainability. Brewing coffee that was sustainably grown in Ethiopia, Peru and Guatemala, this quaint coffee shop donates proceeds to the Laughing Man Foundation, started by Jackman to provide funding for entrepreneurial, community and educational programs in countries where their coffee originates. People can try their signature Flat White, which is Jackman’s favorite, and can be considered a latte with less milk.
377 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013
Robert De Niro is one of America’s most beloved actors and he has ventured yet again into the restaurant industry by co-owning Locanda Verde. The Italian bistro makes New Yorkers feel transported to Italy’s countryside with its exposed brick, large fireplace and rustic atmosphere. A visit to the eatery is not complete without a bowl of pasta. This is not De Niro’s first foray owning restaurants — he also has a hand in the acclaimed Tribeca Grill and Nobu.
645 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
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Southern Hospitality co-owner Justin Timberlake brings his Memphis roots to Manhattan with this barbecue joint. Located in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, the restaurant aims to bring the vision of true Southern warmth, manners and cuisine to the neighborhood with its country interior and southern-style eats. Dinners can hope to rub elbows with the music mogul and other stars as they chow down on signature dishes, including their baby back ribs, black pepper bark brisket and fried avocado wedges with ranch dip.
John Friia is a freelance journalist and native New Yorker writing about food, drinks and lifestyle. You can follow his adventures on Instagram.