On February 5, 2024, the world lost country music icon Toby Keith at 62 due to a private battle with stomach cancer. Survived by his wife and three children, Toby’s musical legacy endures online. Beyond music, he delved into the restaurant business in the early 2000s with Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill.
In 2005, Toby spiced things up by opening his first restaurant in good ol’ Oklahoma. Inspired by his 2003 tune, “I Love This Bar,” these full-service joints started popping up like country lyrics at a rodeo. Toby took the show on the road, setting up shop in spots like Denver, Foxborough, Peoria, and Cincinnati. It was all good vibes until around 2014 and 2015, when several joints slammed their doors shut out of the blue. What happened in those years? Let’s dig into the mystery. Therefore, if you wish to know more about the restaurant chain and the existing Toby Keith restaurants locations, then you should go through this article in detail.
How Many Toby Keith Restaurants Are There?
Buckle up for the wild ride of Toby Keith’s restaurant saga. So, despite the early excitement, most of Toby’s eateries hit a rough patch and closed down within a few years. Plans to spread the restaurant love to 19 more cities? Yeah, that dream crashed and burned, leading to a whopping $28 million lawsuit against the company in charge, Boomtown Enterprises. Now, here’s the plot twist – even though it’s named after Toby, the man himself wasn’t the mastermind behind the whole shebang. TKILTBAG (Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill) wasn’t exactly a celeb-owned joint. Toby just leased his name, occasionally popping up on stage for some entertainment.
Fast forward to today, and there are only two surviving spots in Toby’s home turf, Oklahoma. But here’s the kicker – Boomtown Enterprises is out of the picture. The real MVPs running the show are the Hal Smith Restaurant Group folks. These joints seem to be holding their own, with the one in Oklahoma City rocking a four-star TripAdvisor rating and the Moore spot earning 3.6 stars from the Yelpers. They’re even keeping the party alive with live music acts and a Valentine’s Day event featuring a harpist. Romantic, right? But come on, let’s hope they throw in some “Should Have Been A Cowboy” or “How Do You Like Me Now?!” for the real Toby Keith vibes.
Why Did Many of Toby Keith’s Bar and Grill Restaurants Close?
Hold on to your cowboy hats because Toby’s restaurant rollercoaster takes a wild turn around 2014 and 2015. The once-thriving spots suddenly hit the brakes, thanks to a mix of financial and legal troubles.
Take the Cincinnati joint, for instance – drowning in debt, owing a hefty $38,000 just in unpaid taxes to the State of Ohio. But that’s not the end of the saga. Restaurants in places like Dallas decided they’d had enough and took Boomtown Entertainment, the big shots in charge, to court for skipping out on rent. Now, here’s the kicker – Boomtown Entertainment’s owner, Frank Capri (aka Frank Gioia, Jr.), was cooking up more than just burgers.
He used Toby’s restaurant chain as a front for some serious wire fraud, orchestrating a money scheme between 2011 and 2015. And get this, and he was doing all this while in witness protection, spilling secrets about his mob days in the Lucchese Crime Family in New York. Now that’s a country-song-worthy twist. Capri raked in a whopping $12.9 million from Toby’s restaurants that never served a soul. And get this, $2.7 million of that loot went straight into his bling collection—we’re talking serious jewelry vibes.
Fast forward seven years from this money-fueled escapade, and Capri finally got a reality check. The law caught up with him, and he got slapped with a five-year sentence for cooking up a storm of wire fraud and tax evasion. Meanwhile, as we speak, I Love This Bar is still kickin’ with two spots in Oklahoma, steering clear of the Capri drama.