Tyrese Gibson Finally Explains Why He Built a Benihana-Style Restaurant, Coffee Shop and Nightclub In His Backyard
"This is a fly and sophisticated place where any man that's married can bring his wife, and any man that's single can come and catch a vibe," Gibson tells PEOPLE
For years, rumors of a Benihana-like restaurant in Gibson’s backyard sparked the interest of Aziz Ansari, who tweeted about it in the hopes of meeting the Fate of the Furious actor and landing an invite. At a 2016 Oscars party, Ansari’s dream finally came true.
“Aziz just walked up to me and was like, ‘Dude, you have no idea,'” Gibson tells PEOPLE. “He literally saw me from across the room and walked straight towards me. I was like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ And he said, ‘Dude, you don’t understand! I have to get to your backyard! I have to get there!'”
Despite the boldness of Ansari’s pitch, Gibson was genuinely touched.
“He sold me on why he needs to hang out in my backyard,” he says. “And I was just like, ‘Yo.’ I was so moved. It was so beautiful: his passion for wanting to hang out and party in my backyard. I took his number and arranged everything. He and his friends had the best time of all time.” (It’s true: Here’s the photo evidence.)
So how did Gibson get the idea for to set up a private, hibachi-style restaurant in the first place? In addition to the eatery, Gibson says he has a Starbucks and a full night club back there, too. He didn’t build this mini-universe because he’s an egomaniac looking to spend his money randomly and outlandishly — he hoped to solve a problem. He wanted to hang out with his friends and costars — Gibson names Will Smith, Vin Diesel, Michael Bay, David O. Russell, in particular — without any disturbances.
“With this level of people, they can’t necessarily go to public restaurants in L.A.,” he says. “You can’t eat a piece of salmon with mashed potatoes in a restaurant without feeling like somebody’s filming. So that became the motivation to create this world in my backyard where people could finally feel like they could be around girls and vibe and music and energy.”
Beyond the coffee shop, restaurant, and nightclub, Gibson also has a recording studio and a “salon where you can get your feet and hands done” in his backyard.
Despite the level of luxury and excess that’s inherent in turning your backyard into an adult theme park, we’re not dealing with a Playboy mansion.
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“Girls aren’t running around with their boobs and butt out,” he says. “This is a fly and sophisticated place where any man that’s married can bring his wife, and any man that’s single can come and catch a vibe.”
You would think that Gibson never leaves the house to dine or blow off steam, but he could never abstain from Red Lobster, a restaurant chain he has been devoted to ever since he was a young child—and for which he is now a spokesperson. He says he’s spent around $7000 there in the past two years. (That’s $3500 a year, which is around $300 a month and probably, like, ten crab legs a day.)
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“Red Lobster has a unique way of putting all of this food in front of you, so you actually feel like you’re stealing,” he says. “You’re thinking, ‘Man, I hope they don’t realize all of this s— is in front of me, and they’re giving it to me at this price. I hope somebody doesn’t walk up to my table and say, ‘We’re sorry. We made a mistake. You’re getting too much food. There was a typo on the menu.'”
The actor and singer, who just announced that he secretly got married on Valentine’s Day, is living all sorts of dreams.