A Taste Of The Stars

Black-owned celebrity restaurants are opening in cities nationwide

212-579-0222), feast on Mediterranean cuisine with Asian and African influences, including spicy braised lamb shank, pepper-crusted tuna with mango salsa and phyllow-rapped warm chocolate cake with caramelized raspberries. Prices for main courses range from $17 to $23.

CHICAGO
The Original Michael Jordan’s, The Restaurant. Hearty appetite? Try the authentic “MJ’s Pre-game Meal”–a 23-ounce New York Strip Steak and an ldaho baked potato–or enjoy other dassic American favorites ranging from $7 to $36 at The Original Michael Jordan’s, The Restaurant (500 N. LaSalle St., 312-644-DUNK). On the first floor, MJ’s Fast Break Bar & Grill features a 20-by-6-ft. video wall and a three-tier “skybox” for prime viewing. Michael Jordan’s, The Steakhouse (212-655-2300), a new eatery opening in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, will debut in July.

Walter Payton’s Roundhouse. Built Win 1856, this historic railroad repair station is now a 72,000-sq.-ft. dining and entertainment complex, partly owned by the former Chicago Bears running back. Walter Payton’s Roundhouse (205 N. Broadway, Aurora, IL; 630-264-BREW) includes America’s Brewpub, a 7,000-barrel microbrewery and American cuisine restaurant with dinner entrees ranging from $9 to $27; the Cognac Cigar Bar, an assortment of spirits and cigars; and The Walter Payton Museum. Located 25 miles west of Chicago.

LOS ANGELES
Georgia. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Debbie Allen, Eddie Murphy, Norm Nixon and Denzel Washington are all part-owners of Georgia (7250 Melrose Ave.; 213-933-8420). The restaurant evokes images of a Jamaican plantation–from the rich mahogany bar and floors to the palm-filled patio-while offering delectables from traditional Southern fried chicken to pecan-crusted striped bass with herb-baked potatoes. Prices for entrees range from $12 to $24.

Odessa. Since December 1996, Norm Nixon has been paying homage to his grandmother, Odessa, and her downhome cooking through this Southern California establishment. Co-owned by Nixon’s wife, Debbie Allen, and a lineup of celebrity friends, Odessa (680 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA; 714-376-8792) offers traditional soul food with a French twist. Upstairs, the nightclub often features live music. Main courses range from $16 to $32.

HOUSTON
Drexler’s Bar B.Q. Downtown Houston’s favorite barbeque joint has been in basketball legend Clyde Drexler’s family for 31 years — in fact, a teenaged Clyde worked behind the counter. With Clyde’s morn, Eunice, at the helm of Drexler’s Bar B.Q. (2020 Dowling; 713-752-0008) and brother James in the kitchen, customers enjoy classic soul food and barbeque fare, including ribs, chicken and hot sausage links. Dinner averages $7.

ATLANTA
Gladys Knight and Ron Winan’s Chicken & Waffles. Partly owned by music diva Gladys Knight and gospel singer Ron Winans, this comfortable bistro departs from the diner image of similar establishments, yet maintains a $7 average price for entrees. Recent additions to the nouvelle soul food at Gladys Knight and Ron Winan’s Chicken and Waffles (618 Ponce de Leon Ave.; 404874-9393) include such healthy items as reggie omelets, along with sinful desserts like sweet potato cheesecake with caramel sauce and pecan pies.

The Industry. This upscale supper club embodies the smooth persona of its owner, R&B vocalist Keith Sweat. The menu at The Industry (1789 Cheshire Bridge Rd.; 404-817-3722) delights guests

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