They include a popcorn shop, a fudge/daycare hybrid, and a Moroccan restaurant.
Following the tragic news that Jessica Biel’s Au Fudge is closing down, we thought a world tour of other surprising celebrity-owned businesses was in order.
What, you didn’t know about Au Fudge, Jessica Biel’s kid-friendly restaurant? What a faux pas! Not to worry – this list will get you up to date on all the weirdest celebrity business ventures around the globe.
Our first stop is the epicentre of all things celebrity: Los Angeles. If you’re a celebrity who wants to run a business but doesn’t want to have to fly there every single week, choosing LA as your flagship location is a smart move.
Located in West Hollywood is Au Fudge, founded by Jessica Biel just two years ago. It was marketed as a space that could be enjoyed by kids and parents alike, and included a Center for Art, Music and Play (CAMP) that will continue despite the restaurant’s closure. For around $27, parents can buy 2 hours of playtime at Au Fudge, making it more than twice as expensive as the beloved Lollipop’s Playland. Also, despite the name, fudge doesn’t seem to be a speciality of theirs.
Just five minutes away in Beverly Hills is Tagine, a Moroccan restaurant that boasts Ryan Gosling as one of its owners The prices are steep, which is to be expected from a restaurant with everyone’s favourite baby goose’s name attached. But the reviews are fairly consistently complimentary – the restaurant has a four-star rating on Yelp, based on over 800 reviews. And yes, several reviews include confessions that the reviewers primarily chose to eat there for the chance to get a glimpse of The Gos.
Join me as we venture down south to Texas – San Antonio and Dallas, specifically.
Those cities are where you’ll find Bird Bakery, which is co-owned by Armie Hammer and his wife, Elizabeth Chambers. The couple opened Bird Bakery’s San Antonio store in 2012, with the Dallas store following in 2016. Bird Bakery focuses on baked goods (not birds) alongside traditional café fare, and from all reports, they do a pretty good job.
If you’re tired of trying to catch a glimpse of Armie, or you’ve successfully spotted him and have nothing else to do, travel to Austin, and walk west until you find Walton’s Fancy and Staple, owned by none other than Sandra Bullock. It’s a bakery, deli and flower shop all in one, and it has a very laid-back, old-fashioned vibe. Walton’s has survived where Bullock’s other business venture in Austin, Bess Bistro, failed: the bistro closed up shop in 2015.
If I told you that we were heading to Boston, the home of a chain called Wahlburgers, you’d immediately be able to work out which celebrity (or celebrities, plural) is behind this terrible pun. Yes, the Wahlberg brothers have their own burger chain, and it has locations in 18 US states, but the original location is in Boston. The restaurant was Paul’s idea, and it appears he is actually a chef, which is good. Mark and Donnie are partners in the business, so the fact that it’s described as a “working class organisation” on its website is a bit hilarious. Mark Wahlberg, who was paid nearly $2 million for All The Money In The World. I think there comes a time (or an income threshold) where you have to let go of the ‘working class’ brand. Sorry, Marky Mark.
From there, travel towards the Hudson River, and sail until you reach the small town of Rhineback. There, you’ll find Samuel’s Sweet Shop, which was at risk of shutting down following owner Ira Gutner’s death in 2014, until Paul Rudd and Jeffrey Dean Morgan stepped in and bought the store. Obviously they are far too busy playing ants or being mistaken for Javier Bardem, so Rudd and Morgan left the running of the store to an employee who’d been working there since his teen years. Aw.
Our last stop in the US is New York City, home of Southern Hospitality. Wanting to ensure that nobody forgets he’s from the South, Justin Timberlake opened this restaurant with a couple of (non-famous) friends in 2007. Of the three restaurants Timberlake has been involved in, Southern Hospitality is the only one that’s still operational, so he’s probably doing something right, even if that something is leaving the management of the restaurant to the experts.
European Wildcard Round
If you ever find yourself in Paris, make sure you visit Yummy Pop, Scarlett Johansson’s speciality popcorn store. Why popcorn warrants its own store, I’m not sure, but clearly ScarJo is far more committed to the cult of the corn than I am. Yummy Pop boasts six flavours of popcorn: olive oil, cheddar, parmesan truffle (ScarJo’s favourite, apparently), strawberry, maple, and chocolate strawberry. Reviewing the popcorn for The Cut, Kathleen Hou described it as “hipster Brooklyn popcorn French-ified”, which doesn’t sound like the kind of popcorn that will satisfy my craving for the classic stuff.
If you’d rather support celebrity-owned businesses from the comfort of your own home, not to worry! We’ve got you covered, too. Check out Sugarpova’s website, aka the candy brand founded by Maria Sharapova. I couldn’t begin to understand why celebrities, many of whom are probably on weirdly strict diets, are obsessed with selling candy, chocolate, and baked goods.
Or, if you’re in the market for a new meal plan, you could check out 22 Days Nutrition, a vegan meal plan created by Beyoncé and her personal trainer. Staying on theme is Beyoncé’s activewear brand, Ivy Park.
If beauty products are more your thing, check out Jessica Alba’s Honest Company, which sells products for your house, your baby, and your face. Heed Leslie Jones’ warning, however. Or shop Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty from Sephora, which is quickly gaining critical acclaim amongst beauty lovers.