Rock It: Road trip to musician-owned restaurants, bars

Posted on November 14, 2013


Rock It: Road trip to musician-owned restaurants, bars

Toby Keith fans attend the grand opening of the sixth Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill restaurant on April 7, 2010 in Auburn Hills, Mich. / Getty Images

Toby Keith fans attend the grand opening of the sixth Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill restaurant on April 7, 2010 in Auburn Hills, Mich. / Getty Images

By: Rachael Mattice

Sometimes events at a bar can inspire a song. Conversely, sometimes a song can inspire a bar. One of those musings became Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, with 13 locations nationwide already – Rosemont, Ill., being the closest to Greater Lafayette – and five more under construction.

Music can open pathways to other senses, and several other musicians have made the connection between taste and sound by taking an entrepreneurial approach and opening their own restaurants and bars.

Summer is a prominent time for cooking outdoors, drinking beer, going to concerts and adventuring on road trips. Traveling to a musician’s eatery is one way to integrate all of the above. Here are some options:

* Buddy Guy’s Legends – club/bar, owned by Buddy Guy, Chicago
Chicago’s electric blues scene gave purpose for the opening of Buddy’s club in 1989, scheduling internationally known blues and rock performers such as Lou Rawls, Greg Allman, Van Morrison, Junior Wells and The Black Crowes. Buddy himself sells out shows when he takes the stage every January.

* Alice Cooperstown – restaurant, owned by Alice Cooper, Phoenix, Ariz.
You might be disappointed that artificial decapitated heads aren’t on the infamous shock rock icon’s menu, but classic American sliders, wraps and potato skins are. Though this is probably not the most unique musician-owned restaurant, it’d still be worth capturing a photo eating “Wings of Mass Destruction.”

* Slidebar – bar/music venue, co-owned by Jeremy Popoff, guitarist of pop-rock band Lit, Fullerton, Calif.
As one can guess by its name, Slidebar is a rock ‘n’ roll bar and venue that celebrates Leo Fender, who created the Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster guitars in downtown Fullerton, major contributions to the history of Orange County and to rock music.

Slidebar hosts concerts weekly, with the occasional performance from other Orange County natives such as Avenged Sevenfold and Social Distortion, and it honors others who hail from the county, such as Rage Against the Machine, No Doubt, The Offspring, The Dirty Heads and Jackson Browne.

* 40/40 Club – chain of sports bars and lounges, owned by Jay-Z, New York
Named after four pro baseball players – Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano – who set records representing speed and strength by hitting 40 home runs and stealing 40 bases in a single season, the upscale lounge owned by one of music’s billionaires has been open since 2003.

* Croce’s Restaurant and Jazz Bar – restaurant/venue, owned by Ingrid Croce, widow of Jim Croce, San Diego
Jim Croce was a singer-songwriter best known for his singles “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” and “Time in a Bottle” during the late 1960s and early ’70s. After he died, Ingrid decided to open the restaurant and bar to honor his music and hospitality. However, you will have to jump on this opportunity fast, as the restaurant is closing for good on Dec. 31.

* Joanne Trattoria – restaurant, owned by Lady Gaga, New York
Gaga – real name, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta – is well-known as a New Yorker and Italian-American. She took her pride even further by opening an Italian café in honor of her late aunt, with dishes tailored from original recipes from Gaga’s relatives.

* 2nd Floor – restaurant, bar, partly owned by Dave Silvera, formerly of Korn, Huntington Beach, Calif.
At this joint, formerly called Silvera’s Steakhouse, the tattooed staff and artwork at 2nd Floor are a good fit for the culture of Huntington Beach.

* Rock & Brews – restaurant, owned by veteran rock promoter Dave Furano, tour manager Bill Graham and Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of KISS, various locations
While promoting and managing bands such as the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, The Doors and the Allman Brothers, Dave Furano and Bill Graham had to create a comfortable backstage environment for the bands and their families.

The restaurant features the kind of beer, burgers and pizza requested backstage, as well as famous memorabilia to compete with the Hard Rock Café chain and Rock Hall.


* Gladys and Ron’s Chicken and Waffles – restaurant – owned by Gladys Knight and Ron Winans – Atlanta,Ga.

* Southern Hospitality – restaurant, owned by Justin Timberlake – New York, N.Y.

* JBJ Soul Kitchen – restaurant, owned by Jon Bon Jovi, Red Bank, N.J.

Mattice is a producer and music journalist for the Journal & Courier. She can be reached on Twitter @RachaelM_JC.

Posted in: "Rock It" Column