From BTS to New Kids on the Block: 7 Boy Band Owned Restaurants Around the Globe

Eat like a pop idol.

What does every boy band member need after stepping off the stage in front of thousands of hysteric fans?

Food! Through their years touring the world, these musicians have dined at restaurants all over the globe and sampled every cuisine under the sun, and now they're applying their passion for food to business. From New Kids on the Block singer Donnie Wahlberg's Wahlburgers burger chain to BTS' Kim Seokjin's seiromushi spot in South Korea, we took a look at the increasing number of restaurants owned by boy band members around the world.


Donnie Wahlberg

Chef Paul Wahlberg always knows when his brother, Donnie Wahlberg, is in town. How? A mass of fans will turn up to their Wahlburgers restaurant chain, signaling that the New Kids on the Block singer is on his way!

"I know Donnie's coming because the Blockheads come beforehand," Paul tells us. "The message gets out there, everyone comes and that unity is amazing."

Donnie and Paul teamed up with actor brother Mark Wahlberg to launch their first Wahlburgers in Massachusetts in 2011, and the business, now global, was also the focus of reality TV series, Wahlburgers.

"My mother [Alma] and Paul wanted nothing to do with doing a TV show," Donnie admits. "They recruited me to keep Mark off of their backs because Mark was pushing really hard."

Five years later, Paul and Alma had a blast on the A&E series and continue to welcome viewers to Wahlburgers, which offers family-inspired items like Mark's favorite Thanksgiving Turkey Burger. Donnie's wife, Jenny McCarthy's mixers line, Blondies, has been incorporated into the bar menu, and Donnie frequently stops by various branches while touring with NKOTB.

"We've all grown up with them," says Paul, about how 'Blockheads' have influenced business. "Fans have been fantastic and to see what Mark and Donnie give back is what makes me happiest. They try to bring as much joy and happiness to everybody, which is what I live for in the restaurant business."

Mark Wahlberg and Donnie Wahlberg pose with brother and chef Paul Wahlberg at the trio's restaurant chain Wahlburgers. Mark Wahlberg and Donnie Wahlberg pose with brother and chef Paul Wahlberg at the trio's restaurant chain Wahlburgers.Wahlburgers/A&E

Jordan Knight

Donnie's bandmate, Jordan Knight, is also familiar with the wave of Blockheads that can sweep in for a bite and a selfie. He encounters fans at his Milton, Massachusetts, Italian restaurant Novara (of which he's a part-owner), but it's a different story when there's a NKOTB event in town. "The day after our show at Fenway Park, the place was a mob scene," Knight told us after the 2017 gig. "For whoever came from out of town, Novara was their next day's event. It was pretty cool."

While Jordan had never entertained dreams of entering hospitality, his interest was sparked when Tony DiRienzo, chef/owner of Abby Park (a restaurant he has long been visiting with his family), mentioned opening another spot.

"I was excited they were doing it and wasn't even thinking about investing, then they showed me the site and the discussion came up and I jumped at the opportunity," he says. "The timing, where it was, the ambience and everything just felt good."

Jordan's must-try dish is the chicken parmesan meatballs, while cocktail-loving fans should check out the New Fig on the Block.

New Kids on the Block singer Jordan Knight at his Milton, Massachusetts restaurant Novara with chef Tony DiRienzo. New Kids on the Block singer Jordan Knight at his Milton, Massachusetts restaurant Novara with chef Tony DiRienzo.Anna Ivanonva Photography

Jacob Underwood

O-Town's Jacob Underwood teamed up with his siblings to buy into the San Diego area's Riviera Supper Club and Turquoise Room, a once booming grill-your-own steakhouse and live music venue. The musician plans to revive the tired venue and its "Palm Springs/Frank Sinatra/mid-century vibe."

With no hospitality background, the family partnered with a local company to manage the day-to-day, while they focus on finding out what regulars want and commence small but powerful changes – like fixing chipped bar tops, reassessing lighting and deciding how many bacon items on the menu is too many (current offerings include bacon chocolate cake)!

Jacob is particularly passionate about making the Turquoise Room a more inviting place for musicians, using his expertise from O-Town, who were formed on MTV's Making the Band in 2000 and released their latest record, O.T.W.N. in 2018.

"My experience in production and putting on shows is really handy when I'm trying to bring more atmosphere to the bar," he says. "For example, lighting goes a long way when you're trying to create a mood and memory."

"And, I don't know much about ordering/prepping food, but with O-Town, we've eaten at more restaurants than most people do in a lifetime … steakhouses across the planet! It's fun to take ideas we've seen and amplify them or apply them to the vibe we're creating here."

O-Town's Jacob Underwood bought into the Riviera Supper Club and Turquoise Room with his siblings. O-Town's Jacob Underwood bought into the Riviera Supper Club and Turquoise Room with his siblings.Riviera Supper Club and Turquoise Room

Kim Seokjin

BTS' Kim Seokjin (aka Jin) and his big brother opened Ossu Seiromushi in Seoul, South Korea in 2018. With simple décor and cute ornaments, the eatery specializes in seiromushi, a Japanese method of steam cooking. Diners are served a box with vegetables, pork, and beef, which is steamed at the table in around 13 minutes. "Being BTS' Jin's brother, he could've made any café or restaurant and so many fans would still come. But even if you're not a fan, it's like, 'Oh my god," raved YouTuber Sara Vi about the food in a video blog review.


Jin at Ossu Seiromushi


Lance Bass

For Lance Bass, opening the doors of his own sports bar, Rocco's, in the LGBTQ+ hot spot of West Hollywood, California, was completely "nerve-racking."

"It took us a long time to get it open," he says. "There were a lot of permits to sort and that block is insanely-popular. Our corner was the only one that sat dead for years, so it's nice to see it all lit up, inviting and feeling safer."

Rocco's was already an established sports tavern throughout LA, with Bass having frequented the Studio City spot before the opportunity arose to invest in the first of many upcoming LGBTQ+ versions of the bar. And, while Bass continues to juggle countless other projects, he recognizes the importance of remaining involved with business operations.

"Especially at the beginning because you never know exactly what the community wants, and that neighborhood is very fickle," he says. "We were lucky because there's other Rocco's, so we trained everyone quickly and they were perfect by the time we opened for Pride. It was so much fun."

While Bass' *NSYNC background no doubt attracts fans, he's finding Rocco's WeHo to be more of a local hangout. "It's not very touristy, which is great because that's exactly what the neighborhood wanted, so I don't promote it to my fans. I've definitely noticed our regulars are very local and that makes me happy."

Lance Bass at his West Hollywood bar and restaurant Rocco's WeHo. Lance Bass at his West Hollywood bar and restaurant Rocco's WeHo.Rocco's WeHo.

Brian McFadden

The Westlife and Boyzlife crooner is no longer "Flying Without Wings," thanks to his Dublin, Ireland wings joint Wishbone, which has now opened its second branch. McFadden launched the business with pals, including chef James Stimpson, who used to whip up amazing chicken wings after their nights out. "We kept telling him he needed to open up a restaurant as they are incredible," McFadden told Kilkenny People. "He spent many months formulating the best way to marinade, coat and cook wings to give our customers wings like no others."

The restaurant serves up sticky BBQ wings or southern fried chicken tenders with dips like Cajun jalapeno mayo. For sweet-toothed diners, the menu offers salted toffee apple or spiced orange flavored wings, and McFadden's favorite – Ferrero Rocher cheesecake.

Joey Fatone

*NSYNC's Joey Fatone had some fun with his surname while launching hot dog joint, Fat Ones, but the menu is where fans can truly get to know the musician.

"Fat Ones is a combination of who he is, where he's from and where he's been," says Fat Ones Orlando owner Brian Connor. "All of our features are an homage to Joey, from the 'Angelo' (Joey's character in My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and the 'Baritone' (his singing style) to the 'Bensonhurst' (where he was born) and the 'Fat One' (his nickname in school)."

Fatone's love for hot dogs stemmed from growing up in New York and eating Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs at Coney Island, followed by shaved ice, which Fat Ones also serves up.

Connor says Fatone is a "great" business partner, who meets with fans, provides giveaways, and boosts the restaurant's social media presence. However, he notes the eatery's success is due to more than Fatone's boy band background.

"Joey has so much success in his career and *NSYNC's only a portion of that. We get contacted by fans every day who listen to his podcast, watch him on Impractical Jokers, or love him in Big Fat Greek Wedding."

*NSYNC member Joey Fatone enjoys a meal from his hot dog spot Fat Ones. *NSYNC member Joey Fatone enjoys a meal from his hot dog spot Fat Ones.Fat Ones.

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What's Up with All These Fireworks?

New Yorkers have been hearing constant explosions throughout the night. Is it a conspiracy?

If you live in a large metropolitan area like New York City, Black Lives Matter protests likely aren't the only things you hear making noise in the streets.

In the past couple of weeks, as Black Lives Matter supporters march in memory of George Floyd and countless other Black people killed by police, the sounds of fireworks can be heard virtually every weekend. More than just your average Fourth of July shindig, these explosions often trail into the wee hours of the morning.


According to Gothamist, there were 6,385 total "311" complaints about fireworks in New York City from June 1 to June 19—up from 27 during the same time period last year. "This is not the simple firecrackers and little small toy-type rockets, but it was very elaborate," Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams told Gothamist. "That in itself is raising a high level of concern with me... When you see the large displays along Brooklyn and in Manhattan, Upper Manhattan, you're seeing extremely sophisticated type fireworks displays that can be extremely dangerous in the hands of the wrong people."

Anything more powerful than a sparkler is illegal in New York, but that hasn't stopped regular folks from buying the type of fireworks you'd see in a professional display. But who is buying these fireworks, and what are they trying to accomplish? There are some wild theories.

NYPD, FDNY appear to let illegal fireworks show play out, video shows

NYPD, FDNY appear to let illegal fireworks show play out, video shows nypost.com

As author Robert Jones, Jr. pointed out in a lengthy Twitter thread, antics by "bored Black and brown kids" tends to be the general assumption made by most mainstream media. "My neighbors and I believe that this is part of a coordinated attack on Black and Brown communities by government forces; an attack meant to disorient and destabilize the #BlackLivesMatter movement," Jones wrote.

One goal Jones proposed was that white people were the ones setting off the constant fireworks in an attempt to "stoke tensions between Black and Brown peoples." Many have voiced their frustrations online about the sheer volume of the fireworks they hear, and a shared annoyance is growing.

Another motive Jones proposed was that the fireworks are being used as a desensitization method to acclimate citizens to the sounds of the blasts—which often sound like gunshots. "When they start using their real artillery on us we won't know the difference," Jones wrote. "It's meant to sound like a war zone because a war zone is what it's about to become."

Police don't seem too concerned. The New York Post shared a video this week of fireworks being set off behind an NYPD precinct in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. No officers appear to deter them. A similar video in Harlem, Manhattan also shows a flock of police cars—none of which seem to mind the explosions.


Another video shows what appears to be Brooklyn firefighters setting off fireworks:

Video shows FDNY firefighters light off illegal fireworks in Brooklyn

Video shows FDNY firefighters light off illegal fireworks in Brooklyn nypost.com


Today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he was forming a task force to combat the illegal fireworks. "Illegal fireworks are both dangerous and a public nuisance," he said. "We're cracking down on this activity at the source to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers and the ability of our neighbors to get some sleep."


But if over 6,000 complaints have been made about fireworks to seemingly no avail, it seems a task force won't merit much of an improvement.

Many seem to agree with the theory that inconspicuous government officials have been offering fireworks to Black children, newly on summer vacation and hungry for ways to ease their quarantine boredom. As with many issues going on in America, these constant fireworks will probably be just another way for the government to further discriminate against marginalized groups.

At least we can always rely on memes to spread the good word.

I don't know about you guys, but working from home has taken a serious toll on me. It started off really well. I was sticking to my usual routine as much as possible, but I've been slowly becoming less and less productive.

I noticed my sleep schedule had completely changed. I was rolling out of bed a few minutes before I was due to start work, and sometimes even working from my bed. I ate lunch at the desk and worked straight through my scheduled breaks. I was sleepier throughout the day, unable to focus as much, and just feeling less motivated overall.

So I looked into what I could do that would help me out of my slump. I tried a few things. Some were so simple I never thought they'd make much of a difference, and some I wouldn't have thought of at all, but now I'm back feeling more productive than ever.

Here are my three tips for working from home:

1. Get up early

Yes, it seems so simple. But it's super important to stick to a normal routine if you can. Not only do I get up early, but I shower every morning and cook myself a nutritious breakfast before I start work. This definitely helped me feel more energized and motivated throughout the day.

2. Have a designated workspace

This is important because it separates your work from your home. Our homes are associated with relaxing, so designating a space that will be used only for work will help you concentrate on work while you're in that space. I also found that doing this helped me actually take appropriate breaks. When I left the space I was in relax mode, and once I came back, I was ready to work again.

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3. CBD supplements

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The elixirs are powders that you can mix into any beverage. The Prima Trifecta has a few samples of all three. The Brain Fuel elixir is to be taken in the morning, so I mixed it into my coffee, and I was awake and alert and able to throw myself into my working day.

Their Go-To elixir should be taken around noon. My daily midday productivity crash had gotten so much worse while working at home, but taking this elixir helped keep me sharp through the remainder of my work day.

The Rest Easy elixir is taken at night to help you get a good sleep. Since I started taking this my sleep schedule has greatly improved. It was so much easier to get up early again. It left me feeling well rested and ready to start my day.

I never realized how much simple things, like setting out a specific workspace, and getting up early would help me escape my unproductive rut. I wasn't expecting Prima's CBD supplements to help as much as they did, but they definitely had the biggest impact for me.

After trying the Prima Trifecta, I ended up buying the full size of all three elixirs. If you're having problems with sleep, focus, and productivity like I was, I'd recommend ordering the Prima Trifecta.

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Everyone knows that working out in ratty clothing isn't very motivating.

Studies have shown that the right workout gear drastically determines how hard we push ourselves on cardio or at the gym. But high-end fashion clothes are never high on our shopping list, and a well-fitted pair of spandex can run up a hefty price tag. But as quarantine has forced us all to reevaluate our workout routine, workout clothes matter now more than ever.

But instead of blowing the big bucks on white-owned brands like Under Armour, we should use this time as an opportunity–while BLM protests happen across the country–to put our money towards black businesses as much as we can. This, of course, includes workout clothes. So here are some reliable Black-owned brands that are high quality and won't break your bank.

Yema

Yema

Founded in 2016, Yema Khalif and his wife, Hawi Awash, opened this fitness brand to help educate and feed the latter's home country of Ethiopia. All proceeds go towards helping to educate and feed at risk children in Ethiopia, and their fitness offerings are all beautiful and hand-made.

Culture Fit​

Culture Fit

Designed specifically for black women, Culture Fit's sleek design and well-ventilated workout gear is worth the money. Designed by women of color, each matching pair of active wear also can include a matching yoga mat, so you can really be looking your best when you hit your zoom yoga class!

Vero Mastodon

vero mastodon

Made popular by men and women who served in the military, Vero Mastodon offers breathable, flexible fitness clothes for all the heavy lifters out there. Their exclusive app also offers training programs by certified trainers and power lifters to help you get shredded and transformed.

Pru Apparel

Pru Apparel

Focused on its message of community and pride, Pru Apparel is for every type of woman. Inspired by Africa's culture and rich history, the breathable clothing sets feature Kente cloth and come in a wide array of sizes. Not to mention, the prints are super trendy.

Glamourina​​

GlMOURINA

This gorgeous activewear was born for the culturally conscious. Made for women of all skin tones and shapes, the workout gear was designed for the sole purpose of empowering and motivating. Their high-waisted spandex and quality mesh provide a collection of breathable fabrics that move however you do.