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You’re famous in Austin? Show me your restaurant

Sandra Bullock and Betty White keep it weird!
Sandra Bullock and Betty White keep it weird!
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Used to be that the sequence of events for most aspiring entertainers was: learn how to act/sing/play the guitar, get discovered, become famous, fall into obscurity, live happily ever after. However, if you are a celebrity with ties to Austin, then there is one additional step: Open a restaurant or bar.

Austin is full of creativity. It’s the live music capital of the world, home to a flourishing independent film scene, and you can find comedy and theater pretty much any night of the week. As a city that thrives on culture and entertainment, it’s no wonder that musicians, actors, and comedians flock here to make a splash. But when did becoming a restaurateur or bar-owner become part of the 10-year plan?

Austin’s favorite sweetheart, Sandra Bullock, owns Bess Bistro, Lance Armstrong is at least a part-owner of the bar Six Lounge, and now Vince Young has joined the club with the Vince Young Steakhouse. Whether native or transplants, the celebrities Austin loves are putting down entrepreneurial roots and catering to some of their most loyal fans. Amidst their fame and fortune these establishments connect these big names back to a place they can call home, and their followers are eating it up—figuratively and literally.

In fact, this business model seems to work so well that Austinites are willing to let outsiders give it a go. Carlos Santana owns Maria Maria restaurants, and he has a location in downtown Austin. Well, perhaps he’s not the best example of a successful outsider. In a town where most people would give Willie Nelson a kidney, it should come as no surprise guitar legend’s tacos would be a hit.

Who’s to say what the real lesson to be learned here is? With all these celebrities using their fame to open successful eateries and bars, perhaps the take-away is this: Aspiring restaurant owners, go learn how to act/sing/play the guitar, get discovered, become famous, OPEN A RESTAURANT, and live happily ever after.


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