List Of The 10 Highest-Grossing Restaurants In America Includes 4 Of My Favorites On The East Coast

Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse Midtown Manhattan

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It’s an old wives’ tale that restaurants make for bad investments. Sure, opening a restaurant is a poor investment if you don’t know anything about running a restaurant and you plan on doing all the work yourself. But if you make food service and hospitality your career, and you’re a talented individual, then running a restaurant can be wildly lucrative.

Case in point, this list Restaurant Business Online magazine which shows the 100 top-grossing restaurants in America of 2017. Also, it should be obvious by now but I’m not talking about fast food here. Looking at this list, one thing stands out: VOLUME. The top-grossing restaurants in America are serving hundreds of thousands of diners per year. Coming it at #1 on the list is Tao Las Vegas which did over $42 million in sales last year for an average check price of $90. So of my favorite restaurants on the East Coast cracked the top 10 including Joe’s Stone Crab in South Beach, Carmine’s (New York), Old Ebbitt Grill in D.C., and Smith & Wollensky in midtown Manhattan (the first of many NYC steakhouses I came to love).

Here’s a look at the top 10 highest grossing restaurants in America (in 2017):

10. Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse (Chicago) — $24,700,825 in Sales, 363,301 meals served
9. Bryant Park Grill & Cafe — $25,400,000 in Sales, 420,000 meals served
8. Smith & Wollensky — $25,961,337 in Sales, 296,723 meals served
7. Lavo New York — $26,822,655 in Sales, 200,000 meals served
6. The Boathouse Orlando — $30,814,369 in Sales, 643,829 meals served
5. Old Ebbitt Grill — $32,662,051 in Sales, 1,072,293 meals served
4. Carmine’s (New York) — $33,147,017 in Sales, 396,871 meals served
3. Tao Downtonw — $33,401,819 in Sales, 311,945 meals served
2. Joe’s Stone Crab — $37,243,159 in Sales, 316,000 meals served
1. Tao Las Vegas — $42,470,345 in Sales, 226,146 meals served

As someone who grew up with a ton of family in the restaurant business, it’s hard for me to fathom restaurants doing over $42 MILLION in sales. I get that Tao and Lavo are clubs as well as restaurants but that’s still insane. Also, this list reminded me of how much I used to love Smith & Wollensky in Midtown. I won’t get into the specifics, but at my first job in the city we used to get treated to dinner at that steakhouse whenever we’d hit goals and our bosses would let us just go nuts and order whatever we wanted…This, of course, meant we’d triple fist with wine, an old-fashioned, and a martini throughout the entire meal.

The list of the Top 100 Highest Grossing Restaurants is pretty fascinating, and you can click that link to head on over to Restaurant Business Online.

[h/t Busines Insider]