These Are Chicago's Highest-Grossing Independent Restaurants

By Anthony Todd in Food on Oct 19, 2015 8:27PM

The restaurant businesses is cutthroat, low-margin and has a high failure rate. But some restaurants, whether because of a good concept, perfect location or just plain luck, manage to stick it out. Restaurant Business has published the list of the 100 highest grossing independent restaurants in America, and some Chicago spots made the list. Just how much money these places rake in might surprise you.

Nine Chicago restaurants made it on the list, and, surprise surprise, a ton of them are in the Viagra Triangle. Gibson's leads the list with $22 million (!) in sales, while Hugo's Frog Bar raked in $15 million and Tavern on Rush brought in $12.6 million. As ever, proof that being good and being popular have very little to do with each other.

And in case you're curious, "independent" means they have no more than five locations.

Also on the list? Joe's Seafood ($21.8 million), David Burke's Primehouse ($18.4 million), Chicago Cut Steakhouse ($16.8 million), Shaw's Crab House ($16.5 million), Harry Caray's ($14.3 million) and Quartino ($13.1 million). The morals of the story? if you want to make a lot of money, open a steakhouse or a fancy seafood joint, and make damn sure you're downtown. The exception (sort of) is Bob Chinn's Crabhouse, which always manages to make these kind of lists despite being out of the way in Wheeling, IL. Also, become a shareholder in Gibson's—both their Oak Brook and Rosemont locations were also on the Top 100 list. That's a group that's having a good year.

The highest grossing spot on the entire list is Tao Asian bistro, with $47 million dollars in sales in 2015.