Last year, the salt lick masquerading as a restaurant "run" by dude-bro Guy Fieri raked in an estimated $16 million. Congratulations, America! We've finally lifted Donkey Sauce to its rightful place among the city's many culinary achievers. Somewhere, Pete Wells weeps.
A new ranking by Restaurant Business estimated that the restaurant equivalent of frosted tips pulled in the staggering sum, making it the ninth most profitable restaurant in the city (26th in the country). Left to pick up the droplets of grease in its wake, lesser entries like Daniel, Gotham Bar and Grill and Morimoto. Better luck next year, Iron Chef.
But it's not all despair. The list, which ranks only independently-owned restaurants, declared Midtown steakhouse institution Smith & Wollensky as number one, with sales of $25,470,155 in 2013. Fine, okay; it may serve $57 sirloins but at least it's not in Times Square. Right behind it, club-like "hotspots" Tao New York (an estimated $22,770,515) and Buddakan (an estimated 21,500,000), whose bottle service-type booze programs also helped rank them within the top 10 of independent eateries nation-wide.
Rounding out NYC's top earners, Sparks Steak House, '21,' Del Posto, Balthazar and Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant, proving that at least some city dwellers and visitors haven't completely blown out their palates on salt-encrusted french fries.