From business meetings to birthday celebrations to over-the-top public tantrums, billionaires cause quite the stir when they frequent restaurants. Click through to see some of their favorites!
Piccolo's, aka Piccolo Pete's Restaurants, Omaha, Neb.
Every day, billionaires eat in low-key local spots that remind them of home. Warren Buffet’s favorite restaurant is a family-owned and operated one in his hometown of Omaha, Neb. It features a prime rib that is quite popular. Donna Sheehan, Piccolo Pete's co-owner, has said that Buffet often orders the veal or chicken parmigiana — even the wealthiest of the wealthy like their greasy spoons and comfort food when the mood strikes. Perhaps we’ll see Piccolo’s on Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives soon enough.
'21' Club, New York City
While the '21' Club is nothing short of a New York institution, one may wonder if it still draws the big names it once did. Wonder no more, as billionaire industrialist David Koch planned a fundraising luncheon featuring Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at The Big Apple restaurant in October 2012. The party cost $1,000 per plate, while guests were also offered the chance to partake in a photo op with the Wisconsin governor for a cool $2,500. Ironically, the luncheon featuring Koch, who has been outspoken about his viewing on global warming, was canceled in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction, but no doubt will be rescheduled at a later date.
Credit: 21 Club
Pierluigi Restaurant, Rome
On Mark Zuckerberg’s honeymoon, he and the new Mrs. (Priscilla Chan) were spotted all throughout Rome. They did the traditional tourist must-dos, by visiting the Vatican's Sistine Chapel, the Spanish Steps, and other iconic sites about town. But perhaps some of the most memorable stops were to experience the culinary establishments of the eternal city. The couple shared a meal, like everyone does on their honeymoon, at Pierluigi restaurant, a Roman staple that has been around since 1938. With a wine cellar that boasts a selection of 450 wines from every region of Italy and a menu that takes traditional Roman food and amplifies it with a modern twist, it’s no wonder Facebook’s main man had to make a stop there for lobster pasta and fish carpaccio before heading back home to resume his day job.
When MANAHTTAN (formerly named MANHATTAN Drugs) opened earlier this year, the management couldn’t predict the marketing bonanza that would spring from one visit from billionaire Bill Gates. The philanthropist recently dined there with friends, and the staff couldn’t help but take to social media to announce the good news. The Capitol Hill restaurant is primarily focused on churning out slabs of meat and creative cocktails, but if meat isn’t your thing, the menu offers a variety of salads, comfort food (think pork belly mac and cheese) and entrées like scallops and grits.
Sirio Ristorante, New York City
Sirio Ristorante has only been open for a few months, but the Italian restaurant created by Sirio Maccioni, is already attracting many a billionaire and celebrity alike. The restaurant, located in The Pierre hotel, celebrated its opening in October 2012, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg ready to try out the latest New York City hot spot. Bloomberg ranks at number 10 on Forbes’ "The Richest People in America" list and is known for his love of fine dining. While maybe not billionaires themselves, celebrities Tony Bennett and Martha Stewart were spotted at the opening rubbing elbows with the mayor. The Tuscan menu inspired by Maccioni’s youth includes dishes like penne with three-meat ragù and braised veal cutlets.
Credit: Eric Laignel/ Select
Oprah Winfrey is a trendsetter and she’s been known to launch careers in all industries (think Dr. Phil or personal chef-turned restaurateur Art Smith). Oprah has put her stamp of approval on many pizza places in Chicago, but Japonais is one of her and partner Stedman Graham’s favorite sushi joints. Jeffrey Beers of Jeffrey Beers International designed the space with Japanese design and European elegance. The menu has something for everyone, including sushi, Japanese barbecue, and appetizers that include lobster spring rolls.
Credit: flickr/ txcrew
Tavern, Los Angeles
When he’s not making the latest blockbuster or Oscar-nominated flick, Steven Spielberg likes snagging a bite out in Tinseltown whenever he gets the chance, and he was recently spotted at West Hollywood’s Tavern. With local, earthy dishes such as roasted beets with chickpeas on the menu, Spielberg must be a fan of seasonal ingredients. He’s also a regular at his mother Leah Adler’s kosher restaurant, Milky Way. Known for comfort food like potato pancakes and blintzes, it’s become a local favorite due to the owner’s warm charm and hospitality.
Credit: Rob Stark Photography
Ciano, New York City
Where does one take one’s pregnant fiancée when they want a quiet night out with close friends and family? Well, for Napster’s founder Sean Parker, that place is Gramercy Park’s Ciano. The restaurant is in the old Beppe space and with chef Shea Gallante at the helm it has proven to be a favorite for locals looking for seasonal Italian classics. However, in true billionaire style, Parker had chef Gallante personally prepare a tasting menu for his fiancée Alexandra Lenas, his parents, and another couple.
ARIA Restaurant, Brisbane, Australia
While many billionaires go out to dinner for a high-end experience, others are wheeling and dealing their next big project over cocktails and caviar. Russian multi-billionaire Roman Abramovich, whose estimated net-worth is $12.1 billion, took a business meeting at ARIA Restaurant in Brisbane with Linc Energy chief Peter Bond. The restaurant, co-owned by Matt Moran and Peter Sullivan, is equally known for its stunning views as it is for its delicious array of freshly caught seafood, with barramundi being among one of its star dishes.
Credit: Aria Brisbane
Nobu Fifty Seven, New York City
The Nobu franchise of Japanese restaurants, with 25 locations around the globe, is quite popular with the wealthy set, and most notably New York’s elite. In fact, it’s so popular that billionaire Stewart Rahr is now banned for life! After having attended a friend’s birthday party at Nobu Fifty Seven, the Brooklyn-born mogul threw a colossal hissy fit at the waitstaff and managers that resulted in his booting from the Midtown Manhattan outpost. Perhaps he wasn’t even able to sample some of the classic dishes crafted by legendary chef Nobu Matsuhisa like his black cod with miso or the Chilean sea bass with black bean sauce.
Credit: Scott Frances
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Billionaires can be just like the rest of us — they like to eat, drink, and be merry, too. While the members of the ultra-high-net-worth world can be illusive more often than not, they too want to be part of a cutting-edge restaurant scene, both nationally and internationally. Restaurants around the world have hosted billionaires, from the Eternal City to Australia and back around again to The Big Apple when they decide it's time to see and be seen.
While the wealthy sector is often dining in the comfort of their own mansions, mega-yachts, or private jets, they can also occasionally be spotted eating alongside their lesser net-worth counterparts. While fine dining establishments like New York City's Per Se and Le Bernardin will simply never go out of fashion, dives and comfort food grub can also be compelling options, particularly for the likes of Warren Buffet.
From business meetings to birthday celebrations to over-the-top public tantrums, billionaires cause quite the stir when they frequent restaurants. In today's world of instantaneous news and social media, one well-placed tweet can let you know where those atop Forbes' billionaire list may be dining that evening, and perhaps what they are eating.
Check out the slideshow above to find out where billionaires go out for dinner!