The Top 100 Independent restaurants grossed almost $1.8 billion in 2018—and that’s just the beginning of the story that the numbers tell about this list of top earners. Click through to see some of the other stats that stood out on this year's ranking.
Highest average check
Lowest average check
Number of concepts new to the ranking
The almost overnight success of the highest-debuting concept on the Top 100, No. 24 Gibsons Italia, surprised even the owners. Gibsons Restaurant Group took a chance opening Gibsons Italia in the fall of 2017. The four-story, 190-seat (plus 105 bar and 92 private dining seats) complex sits in an office/residential tower in a transitional neighborhood on the Chicago River that was historically a light industrial area—not exactly prime territory for a restaurant. But the skyline view is considered among the best in town. The Lombardo family reckoned the site would do well at weekday lunch, happy hour and early dinners. But weekends? Not so much. Surprise: Saturday night reservations are nearly impossible to get. The result was a $20 million-plus first full year—well beyond projections. “Does the food taste a little better because of that view? Maybe,” Lombardo says.
Number of restaurants in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area
Joe's Stone Crab (No. 1, Miami Beach)
Prime 112 (No. 11, Miami Beach)
Komodo (No. 17, Miami)
Shooters Waterfront (No. 39, Fort Lauderdale)
Rusty Pelican (No. 49, Miami)
Makoto (No. 61, Bal Harbour)
The Rustic Inn (No. 62, Fort Lauderdale)
15th Street Fisheries (No. 68, Fort Lauderdale)
Most meals served
1,013,433 (Old Ebbitt Grill, No. 4)
No. 1 worry
Operators named wages as their top worry for 2020. Workforce quality is also a large concern for the Top 100 Independents, as is competition from retail.