Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Tao Asian Bistro in Las Vegas maintained its top spot, while two other Tao locations also made the list.

Mike Pomranz
October 27, 2017

When it comes to the top restaurant chains by sales, we’ve all become pretty familiar with the list. McDonald’s is obviously leading the way. Starbucks and Subway are both up there as well seeing as you can find a location of either on pretty much any city block. Then you got your Taco Bells and Burger Kings… yada, yada, yada. But each year, Restaurant Business magazine publishes a somewhat more compelling list: the Top 100 Independent Restaurants. These are the individual restaurants (no more than five company-owned locations allowed) that haul in the most cash in one single spot – a feat that requires a delicate balance of popularity, location, capacity and pricing. And for an impressive fourth year in a row, the same restaurant has managed to reign on the top of the list.

Since 2013, Tao Asian Bistro in Las Vegas has been the single highest grossing independent restaurant in the country. For 2016, the 40,000-sqaure-foot, 417-seat eatery located in The Venetian casino pulled in over $42 million by serving 226,146 meals with an average check of about $90. Granted, though Tao isn’t a chain, the eatery also isn’t going it entirely alone: It’s one of the signature restaurants for the Tao Group, which boasts 17 restaurants across the country. And in fact, two other Tao locations – both in New York City – made the list as well. Still, Tao Las Vegas cleared the number two highest grossing restaurant, Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach, by over $5 million, and was the only restaurant to haul in over $40 million in sales, so its achievement is still impressive by any measure.

Unsurprisingly, Las Vegas in general is well-represented on the list, with 14 of the top 100 located in the gaming mecca. Overall, Vegas finished second as far as number of restaurants per city is concerned, falling behind only New York City which had an insane 30 different restaurants make the list.

One other interesting tidbit from the list: The restaurant with the most meals served was Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, D.C., which reportedly turned around 1,072,293 meals last year with an average check of $39 – enough to land it the number five spot on the chart.

Here’s your entire top 20. Note that some “chain” restaurants (like Smith & Wollensky) are able to qualify if it is owned and operated independently.

  1. Tao Las Vegas
  2. Joe’s Stone Crab (Miami Beach)
  3. Tao Downtown (New York)
  4. Carmine’s (New York)
  5. Old Ebbitt Grill (Washington, D.C.)
  6. The Boathouse Orlando
  7. Lavo New York      
  8. Smith & Wollensky (New York)
  9. Bryant Park Grill & Café (New York)
  10. Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse (Chicago)
  11. Junior’s (Times Square) (New York)
  12. Vandal (New York)
  13. Prime 112 (Miami Beach)
  14. Tao Uptown (New York)
  15. Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab (Washington, D.C.)
  16. The Hamilton (Washington, D.C.)
  17. Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab (Las Vegas)
  18. Bottega Louie (Los Angeles)
  19. St. Elmo Steak House (Indianapolis)
  20. Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab  (Chicago)

You May Like