Actor Danny DeVito, following in a long line of celebrities &
including Jennifer Lopez, Paris Hilton, Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor &
wants to become a brand name.
Danny DeVito's Premium Limoncello arrives on the market in August. The idea for it came to him after he embarrassed himself in November on ABC's "The View," still feeling the effects of drinking multiple Limoncellos &
a lemon-flavored liqueur &
the night before while out with George Clooney.
Earlier this week, he was in Miami Beach getting ready for Monday's opening of his new restaurant, DeVito South Beach, featuring Italian cuisine.
He has partnered with South Florida restaurateur David Manero and venture capitalist Michael Brauser. Should the restaurant take off, the partners have plans to open others in New York, West Hollywood, Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla. There are also plans for a take-home pasta sauce, steak sauce and salad dressing.
"I put my name on every single thing that I do," said the 62-year-old actor, director and producer.
Branding expert Rob Frankel says that DeVito certainly has a "decent shot at success," given his likable persona and name recognition, but that bigger stars than he have crashed and burned in the restaurant business. He points to Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis and their ill-fated Planet Hollywood restaurants.
"The biggest mistake people make with branding is they assume it's just about identity and awareness," Frankel said. "They leap to development without telling us why the hell should I care."
Manero, who has been in the restaurant business 32 years and owns such South Florida dining establishments as Sopra, Gotham City and Shore Restaurant as well as Vic Angelo's in Palm Beach, said of DeVito: "He really appeals to all age groups and is a wonderful family person. And he's Italian."
DeVito, who is married to actress Rhea Perlman, said the restaurant idea was broached a couple of years ago by venture capitalist Brauser, whom they met while vacationing on the Greek island of Santorini.
To adorn the restaurant walls, DeVito said, he has selected about a dozen photographs of himself posing with his family or with actors he has worked with, including Michael Douglas, Jack Nicholson and Billy Crystal.
The restaurant is a separate business from DeVito's foray into the liqueur business. Danny DeVito's Premium Limoncello is being marketed by Harbrew Imports of Long Island, N.Y.
Danny DeVito puts reputation on the line