Restaurants are marvelous things; regardless of the economy, people still flock to the great ones in droves. Diners are willing to save up for an exceptional meal in a restaurant with great ambiance, which is one of the reasons why these 10 Kens have been able to make such a name for themselves in the world of restaurants.
- Ken Oringer – A native Bostonian, Ken Oringer has created a name for himself through the craft of cuisine. He was named the award of Best Chef Northeast in 2001, then opened Uni, a sushi bar that was named the Best Sushi Bar in 2008. In addition to running his own restaurant, Mr. Oringer teaches cooking classes for aspiring chefs to learn the tricks of the trade.
- Ken Irvine – Ken Irvine brings French cuisine to a whole new level at his restaurant Bleu Bohème. The food is authentic, and has been influenced by several regions of France. French cooking is notoriously fussy, with each region boasting its own superb wines and contributions to national cuisine. Ken Irvine captures the spirit of French cooking perfectly.
- Ken Todd – Though he may have originally been known for his skills as a football player, Ken Todd has reinvented himself as a successful restaurateur. He and his wife own some of the top restaurants and bars in the Los Angeles area. But they didn’t stop there; they also have dabbled in the restaurant industry across the Pond. In fact, the first bar he owned was called Corks and it was located in Kensington, England.
- Ken Rivard – For approximately 30 years, Ken Rivard and his wife, Chef Jody Adams have been cooking together and running restaurants like the Rialto while publishing books to share their experience with other aspiring restaurateurs.
- Ken Davitian – Ken Davitian is perhaps known best for his acting career, but he’s also a successful restaurateur. He’s recognizable from his appearances on shows such as “Chuck,” “ER,” “Ghost Whisperer” and “Six Feet Under,” just to name a few. In 2003, he opened his own restaurant known as The Dip. His son now runs this hot dog-serving restaurant in California.
- Ken King – In 2009, Ken King passed away, leaving behind a legend as a co-op owner along with the ownership of a restaurant called the Indian Summer Restaurant. His unique farm-to-table concept worked because the farm was on-site, with the staff doubling as cultivators of the food served inside.
- Ken Howard – Another actor-turned-restaurant-owner, Ken Howard has received an Emmy for his acting abilities. He is also the successful owner of two Boston-area restaurants: Rustic Kitchen and Mario’s Place.
- Ken Conrad – Ken Conrad is the chairman of Libby Hill Seafood Restaurants, a smaller chain with nine locations throughout the country. In 2007, he was named Restaurateur of the Year. On top of this experience, he was also a cook in the Army National Guard.
- Ken Forkish – Ken Forkish owns Ken’s Artisan Bakery where the art of bread making and pastries comes to life. His success as a bread and pastry maker afforded him with the opportunity to write books on his crafts to inspire other chefs, both novice and professional. Ken’s Artisan Bakery opened in 2001 in Portland, Oregon. Since 2006, he has also been the proud owner of Ken’s Artisan Pizza.
- Ken Goff – Ken Goff was a chef at the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School’s restaurant known as Technique. Aside from being a chef there, he became one of the instructors at the famous school. He went from line cook to executive chef throughout his career. He is one chef who’s known for his dedication to Midwest cuisine, and his time as instructor at Le Cordon Bleu was spent in the Minnesota branch. He has been credited with shaping the dining scene in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Every great chef starts in the kitchen, so don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty if you dream of owning a restaurant. Whether your name is Ken or not, following the examples of these 10 successful businessmen can give you the inspiration you need to make it to the upper echelon of restaurateurs.