(OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.) Fans of singer, songwriter and entertainer Toby Keith ought to be used to seeing the Oklahoman named to "best of" lists by now, but they might be surprised to see him recognized for his food, hospitality and decorating flair. Or, if they've been to one of his many I Love This Bar & Grill restaurants, they might not.
Keith's rapidly growing chain of eateries has recently been named to Huffington Post's "Best Celebrity-Owned Restaurants" list. Culled from more than 100 establishments owned and operated by some of the biggest names in show business (celebrity chefs were excluded, of course), Toby's table made the top 25.
"Ashton Kutcher, Justin Timberlake, Bill Murray, and Robert De Niro were all in the running," the piece reads. "Price was not factored, but food, décor, and service were." Referring specifically to Keith's establishment, the review notes, "There are high ceilings, large neon beer bottles, and oversized pictures of Keith with his patriotic guitar held above his head. Food-wise, it's all about Tex-Mex and barbecue. Notable features: Calf fries (hand-breaded and deep fried with spicy, horseradish cocktail sauce), and the fried bologna sandwich (with Keith’s signature barbecue sauce, Jack, Cheddar, lettuce, and tomato)."
Not mentioned in the article, but available at I Love This Bar & Grill locations nationwide is Toby Keith's Wild Shot Mezcal. The Oklahoma born and bred performer introduced his new spirit earlier this year and is at the forefront of an exploding trend. Just last week the New York Times addressed the drink's growing popularity, noting the "boom in Mexican spirits, with mescal, against all odds, taking a star turn." The story follows similar coverage in Time, which rated mezcal on its list of "Top 10 Ridiculously Strong Drinks."
Recently added at Kroger stores in Kentucky, Wild Shot is fast becoming a leading brand, as Toby Keith seems to be in all his endeavors. His latest single "Made In America" is at No. 12 on the charts after only five weeks, making it his fast rising single in five years. And his Ford F-Series sponsored Locked & Loaded Tour is playing standing-room-only venues coast to coast.