Restaurant Business magazine has released its annual ranking of the Top 100 Independent Restaurants, an important benchmark for industry operators that highlights the highest-grossing non-chain restaurant concepts in the United States. This year’s list included 30 New York City restaurants.
All of the restaurants in the Top 100 have the ability to be resilient and find a formula that works in today’s difficult market. “Just like the chains, independent restaurants faced major issues over the last year, making operating—and growing sales—increasingly difficult,” says Sara Rush Wirth, managing editor of Restaurant Business. “In the face of the tough labor market, competition for real estate and a crowded market, these concepts still managed to survive and, in some cases, thrive, even as some other stalwarts were forced to close their doors.”
Overall, revenues for this year’s Top 100 remained relatively flat from last year’s list, totaling about $1.8 billion in 2016. But in an industry where chains are seeing sales decrease, some independent operators are seeing flat as a win. Food and beverage revenues ranged from Tao’s $42.5 million to approximately $13 million for Cafe Fiorello in New York City.
New York City independents
Urban markets—often known for bringing in tourist dollars—are home to many of the restaurants in this year’s ranking. The Big Apple leads with 30 restaurants on the list, including newcomer La Sirena, helmed by Mario Batali. To view the complete rank of New York City’s top independents, visit 2017 Top Independent Restaurants in NYC.
The top 10 independents in NYC and their 2016 revenues are as follows:
Restaurant Top 100 Rank 2016 Sales
Tao Downtown 3 $33,401,819
Carmine’s (Times Square) 4 $33,147,017
Lavo New York 7 $26,822,655
Smith & Wollensky 8 $25,961,337
Bryant Park Grill & Cafe 9 $25,400,000
Junior’s (Times Square) 11 $23,972,978
Vandal 12 $23,680,917
Tao Uptown 14 $23,089,638
Buddakan 21 $20,555,460
The Smith (Lincoln Square) 27 $18,950,000