5 Athletes With Restaurants

April 5, 2011

The first in a three-part series on athletes who decided to open restaurants during or after their professional careers. Some found success with their ventures; many did not.

1) Albert Pujols (Baseball): Considered one of the best players in Major League Baseball today, Albert Pujols shines as a first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2006, he opened Pujols 5 Grill in St. Louis. The restaurant specializes in American comfort food that can be enjoyed throughout the day. The venue also offers space for corporate events and has more than 40 large televisions to watch Cardinals games from.

2) Michael Jordan (Basketball): Many people consider Michael Jordan the greatest basketball player ever. During his historic career, the guard led the Chicago Bulls to multiple NBA championships. After his great career ended, Jordan opened a series of restaurants. The first venture, entitled Michael Jordan's restaurant, was a family-style eatery but folded shortly after Jordan retired for the second time. He now operates a series of eateries, including one sixty blue and Michael Jordan's Steakhouse.

Michael Jordan

3) Larry Holmes (Boxing): He started off his career by winning his first 48 fights. Considered one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, Holmes defended his title 20 times and defeated Muhammed Ali. After the end of his career, Holmes returned to Easton, Pennsylvania and opened his restaurant ("Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant and Lounge"). The establishment offers a modest selection of sandwiches and other comfort foods. It has regular karaoke and DJ nights.

4) John Daly (Golf): Twenty years from now, people will remember John Daly more for his antics off the green than for his incredible talent on it. Though he won the 1991 PGA Championship and the 1995 British Open, anger and alcoholism constantly hounded him and resulted in several arrests. Well, he has a restaurant in (ironically) Olive Branch, Tennessee. John Daly's Restaurant and Bar features simple American comfort food (is that becoming a trend?) but also includes many of the golfers personal memorabilia.

John Daly

5) Wayne Gretzky (hockey): Probably one of the most famous Canadians in the world, Wayne Gretzky played for a number of hockey teams during his storied NHL career. He led the Edmonton Oilers to four Stanley Cup victories (an impressive feat in any sport). Now, he owns Gretzky's in Toronto, Canada. Additionally, Gretzky owns and sells his own award-winning wine label. Now I see why he's called "The Great One."

Wayne Gretzky

Photos by Herkie/cliff1066/ Keith Allison/ Hakan Dahlstr0m