Pike Place Market's Athenian Inn is a beloved, 103-year-old Seattle institution. What it is not, despite much ballyhooed claims by Forbes.com, is the fifth or sixth highest grossing independent restaurant in the country with an astounding income of $19.1 million a year.
"Totally wrong," GM Eddie Clark tells Eater.
The highest-grossing restaurant in Seattle, at $13 million a year, is the Space Needle's Sky City. That's a bit more than $1 million a month, or $30,000-plus a day. Not hard to do if your restaurant seats 200 people and you serve 300 lunches (at, say, an average check of $30) and another 300 dinners (at, say, $65).
But if your average check is under $20, and you're only open from 6 AM to 8:30 PM, and you've got slow times during the day, and if Forbes doesn't even count alcohol sales (thus ignoring the Athenian's touristy bar scene), well you get the picture. No way.
Here is Forbes.com explaining their process:
To figure out which are the top-grossing restaurants in the U.S., we turned to CHD Expert, a food industry marketing research company out of Chicago. Their estimates cover earnings from June 2010 to June 2011 and do not include alcohol sales. CHD only looked at stand alone restaurants which eliminated places like casino buffets. They also didn't include places like Tao that basically turn into nightclubs in the evening.
At best, we'll give Athenian 300 customers and $6,000 a day. About two million bucks a year. Not shabby, but sheesh! Forbes--that bastion of supposedly reliable information about our country's millionaires--was off by a factor of 10. Pish pish.