Restaurants in this year’s Top 100 Independents ranking brought in about the same in food and beverage revenues as they did the prior two years—$1.8 billion. The number may be the same, but the operating atmosphere definitely was not. Independents faced challenges in labor, real estate and more, all while still competing for consumers’ dollars. Those winning in the tough, competitive market found the key to staying afloat was delivering on the promise of an experience.

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab – Chicago, Las Vegas, D.C.

RPM Steak

Shaw’s Crab House – Chicago

Mon Ami Gabi – Las Vegas