Nearly four years after Pete Wells’ now infamous review blasting Guy Fieri's eponymous Times Square eatery Guy's American Kitchen & Bar ran in the New York Times, the restaurant is doing better than ever.
According to a newly released analysis of the top 100 grossing independent restaurants (places with five or fewer locations), Fieri’s first New York City restaurant took in $17 million in 2015—making it the 39th top earning independent restaurant in the country.
The survey, conducted by trade publication Restaurant Business, estimates that the Times Square eatery served 405,000 meals with an average check of just $42. That’s a lot of donkey sauce for a lot of people. Last year, the restaurant grossed about $16 million.
Compare that to the country's highest grossing restaurant-- Tao Asian Bistro in Las Vegas—which served just over 22,700 meals with an average check of $96. Tao made $47.9 million in 2015. And despite being open for just 10 months out of the year, the original Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach was the country’s second highest grossing restaurant with over $36.8 million in sales last year.
Restaurant Business’ methodology utilized independent surveys and self-reported figures, not just sales data from the restaurant groups themselves.
New York City boasts 30 of the country’s top grossing restaurants making it the most well represented city on the list. But Las Vegas, which has 15 eateries on the top 100, owns most of the highest checks. Carnevino, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich's Italian steakhouse in The Palazzo Hotel, had an average ticket of $180. The cost of a classic Florentine porterhouse at Carnevino is $170—the most expensive meat on the menu.
The most budget-friendly top earner was Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth in Eastern Michigan with an average check of $15. They served well over 967,000 meals of fried chicken, Bavarian sausages and wiener schnitzel in 2015.
Americans love steaks, seafood and Italian cuisine-- and a variety of price points are well-represented in the top 100. But all of the top earners have one thing in common-- they’re geared bigger crowds and built to accommodate hundreds of diners at a time.
The restaurant industry might be facing a lot of challenges right now but overall, the restaurants in this year’s top 100 ranking had total food and beverage revenues of roughly $1.8 billion in 2015.
The top-grossing independent restaurants in America, 2015
1) Tao Asian Bistro, Las Vegas - $47,941,106
2) Joe’s Stone Crab, Miami - $36,837,000
3) Tao Downtown, New York City - $33,822,962
4) Carmine’s (Times Square), New York City - $32,015,788
5) Old Ebbitt Grill, Washington, D.C. - $30,568,157
6) Lavo, New York City - $27,508,162
7) Smith & Wollensky, New York City - $25,584,000
8) Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse- $23,636,657
9) Prime 112 - $23,600,000
10) Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, Washington, D.C. - $23,600,000