It’s a great time to be Tao. According to Restaurant Business, the Vegas location of the Asian-themed clubstaurant chain (that’s a hybrid restaurant and club, for the uninitiated) is the highest-grossing independent restaurant in America, while the New York City location clocks in at third-highest. (For a zinger-filled primer on what it’s like to eat at Tao in NYC, do read Ryan Sutton’s review of the place, filed during his tenure as Bloomberg’s dining critic.) But with plans to expand the geographic footprint over the next year or so — from Asia to Miami — the sky is the limit when it comes to Tao selling alcohol and sea bass satay skewers.
This week, Tao planted its dark, moody flag in Hollywood, in a space Eater LA describes as at once “cavernous” and “sexy.” There’s a custom 20-foot statue by artist Quan Yin, buddha sculptures, and barbecue pork buns.
Tao is also making progress on its Chicago debut, reports Eater Chicago. Curbed Chicago has renderings of the upcoming restaurant, which will occupy a staggering 34,000-square-foot space in a 135-year-old building once home to the Chicago Historical Society headquarters. Per Eater Chicago, Tao “is partnering locally with Four Corners Tavern Group (Benchmark, West End, etc.) [to] give the space a major facelift.” The renderings reveal another dark, red room complete with Asian-themed art.
2017’s been a big year in the clubstaurant world. In March, SBE Entertainment confirmed it was in “advanced talks” to merge with Hakkasan Group. If the deal goes through, the super-group would reportedly be worth $1 billion, with a portfolio comprising well-known clubs, hotel chains, and restaurants in cities around the world. Between the Tao expansion and the SBE-Hakkasan merger, America won’t lack for options when it comes to eating spendy food in gigantic spaces with pulsating bass lines.
• TAO Chicago Renderings Reveal A Total River North Revamp For Upcoming Clubstaurant [ECHI]
• Exclusive: America's Busiest Restaurant TAO Opens in Hollywood [ELA]
• SBE-Hakkasan Merger Would Create One Clubstaurant Group to Rule Them All [E]