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In the wake of Scandoval, Tom Sandoval's restaurant Schwartz & Sandy's is thriving even though everyone there is 'Team Ariana'

In the wake of Scandoval, Tom Sandoval's restaurant Schwartz & Sandy's is thriving — even though everyone there is 'Team Ariana'
EntertainmentEntertainment1 min read
Insider's reporter visited Schwartz & Sandy's for journalism. (You're welcome.)Anneta Konstantinides/Insider
  • The "Vanderpump Rules" cheating news involving Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss is everywhere.
  • I went to Schwartz & Sandy's where people are reserving tables under "Fuck Tom Sandoval."

News of "Scandoval," a cheating scandal involving the cast of "Vanderpump Rules," broke on March 3. It's dominated headlines ever since.

News of "Scandoval," a cheating scandal involving the cast of "Vanderpump Rules," broke on March 3. It
Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix (left) and Raquel Leviss (right) attend the "Vanderpump Rules" season 10 premiere party      Todd Williamson/Bravo via Getty Images

For anyone living under a rock, Tom Sandoval cheated on Ariana Madix — his girlfriend of nine years, and "Vanderpump Rules" costar, with whom he owns a home and business — with his other costar Raquel (real name Rachel) Leviss.

It's a reality TV scandal for the ages (if you need more juicy deets, our incredible Powerpoint explains everything) and it's had some real consequences for Sandoval and Lisa Vanderpump's businesses.

Sandoval isn't just a star on Bravo. He and costar Tom Schwartz are partial owners of TomTom, a West Hollywood bar they launched with Vanderpump in 2018, as well as Schwartz & Sandy's, which opened in November after a number of delays. Much of the 10th season of "Vanderpump Rules" is devoted to Schwartz & Sandy's struggles to open the bar, and the strain it put on their relationships with Maloney and Madix.

When news first broke of the so-called Scandoval, people began flooding Schwartz & Sandy's with bad Yelp reviews. In his first public statement, posted on March 4, Sandoval asked fans not to take out their anger on the co-owners or staff of either of his bars. He made no mention of Madix, which did not go unnoticed.

That same day, a statement was also posted to Schwartz & Sandy's official Instagram page. "Those of us who are not famous have dedicated our time, hearts, and money to make this restaurant a reality," it read. "Please understand that the livelihoods of others also depend on this business."

I was curious to see how both of Sandoval's businesses were doing in the week after the scandal and wondered if the vibes would be strange. What did the people who worked there think? Would everyone be talking about the scandal? Are the food and drinks even any good?

It was time for a trip to Hollywood.

To see how the scandal was affecting business, I arrived at Schwartz & Sandy's on Thursday night, six days after news of the scandal first broke, and was surprised to find it was in a small strip mall.

To see how the scandal was affecting business, I arrived at Schwartz & Sandy
The strip mall where Schwartz & Sandy's is located.      Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

While TomTom is located on a busy stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard filled with spots like Vanderpump's PUMP and iconic gay bar The Abbey, Schwartz & Sandy's location is far less exciting.

The bar's neighbors include a pet groomer and pizza chain, plus it's five miles away from TomTom, PUMP, and Sur — which is a much longer trip than you'd think in LA traffic. It seemed like a strange business decision when so many "Vanderpump" fans love to bounce around the show's famous locations.

With the exception of two fans snapping a photo under the neon sign that points to the front door, the bar was surprisingly quiet.

With the exception of two fans snapping a photo under the neon sign that points to the front door, the bar was surprisingly quiet.
Schwartz & Sandy's is located in Hollywood.      Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

There were no lines of fans waiting to get in, and no bouncers adding extra security. It felt like any other bar in a Los Angeles strip mall.

But once inside, a source told me that this has actually been Schwartz & Sandy's best week since they opened.

But once inside, a source told me that this has actually been Schwartz & Sandy
The entrance of Schwartz & Sandy's.      Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

As we walked in, the music was soft, the lights were dim, and the atmosphere felt surprisingly calm.

But only two tables were empty when we sat down around 7:30 p.m. and the bar was also completely full — clearly business wasn't struggling that night.

This was confirmed by a source, who told me that not only has the business been unaffected — it's doing better than ever. The influx of curious "Vanderpump fans" gave the new bar its best week since it first opened in November.

The restaurant has been booked up since the news hit TMZ, they added.

But that doesn't mean people are ignoring the scandal. The source told me people are booking their reservations under "Fuck Tom Sandoval."

But that doesn
My $17 baby shark cocktail.      Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

The source said fans have also been flooding the bar's voicemail with angry messages for Sandoval.

They also confirmed that, in the midst of the scandal, the co-owners of Schwartz & Sandy's asked Sandoval to stop coming to the restaurant.

My source revealed that "Vanderpump Rules" cast members used to come to the restaurant almost every night. Now, they're all steering clear.

My source revealed that "Vanderpump Rules" cast members used to come to the restaurant almost every night. Now, they
The dining area and bar of Schwartz & Sandy's.      Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

The source told me that stars of the show were now steering clear to avoid being swarmed by fans, and to make sure no one thought they were supporting Sandoval after what he did.

When I asked my source if Leviss frequently came to Schwartz & Sandy's, they said she "used to be here all the time."

The drinks were flowing, and the tea was piping hot.

As we waited for our food, my friend Kayla and I couldn't help but admire the bar's vibe. Schwartz & Sandy's exterior doesn't have much going for it (except the cool sign), but you're transported into a completely different world inside. The restaurant and bar is a collage of twinkling fairy lights, psychedelic wallpapers, lush green palm leaves, kitschy knick-knacks, and funky '70s furniture.

"It looks like a tiki bar you'd find at Burning Man," Kayla remarked.

While the cocktails were delicious, the food was a pretty big disappointment.

While the cocktails were delicious, the food was a pretty big disappointment.
The $8 shoestring fries at Schwartz & Sandy's.      Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

I watch "Vanderpump Rules" in my free time but I write about food for a living, so obviously I couldn't go to Schwartz & Sandy's without sampling a variety of dishes.

The $8 shoestring fries were the night's biggest letdown. We opted for the "herb" version but couldn't detect any seasoning. Even worse, the fries were cold and neither fluffy nor crispy. The dish's only saving grace was the delicious black-cherry ketchup, which felt innovative and fresh.

Other dishes, like these $18 lobster corn dogs, just didn't work conceptually.

Other dishes, like these $18 lobster corn dogs, just didn
The $18 lobster corn dogs at Schwartz & Sandy's.      Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

This appetizer featured housemade lobster sausage, sweet corn batter, and curry mustard. While it was a fun idea, the mushy texture of the lobster just didn't work with the soft bun, and all the flavors felt like they were competing with each other.

The $16 golden beet carpaccio salad could've been a slam dunk if it weren't for the chips on top, which were super bitter and overpowered everything. And the $24 butternut squash cacio e pepe was under-seasoned and strangely garnished with bay leaves.

The only dish we really enjoyed were these incredible chicken and waffle bites.

The only dish we really enjoyed were these incredible chicken and waffle bites.
The $15 chicken and waffle bites at Schwartz & Sandy's.      Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

This $15 appetizer — which features maple-buttermilk boneless chicken thighs covered in waffle crumbs — tasted incredible. The chicken was super juicy and perfectly cooked, the waffle crust was delicious and innovative, and I loved dipping each bite into the chile maple honey that came with it.

After ordering another round of drinks, we began chatting to the #TeamAriana "Vanderpump" fans seated next to us.

After ordering another round of drinks, we began chatting to the #TeamAriana "Vanderpump" fans seated next to us.
My $17 wendy peppercorn cocktail at Schwartz & Sandy's.      Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

As I sipped on my (very delicious) $17 wendy peppercorn cocktail, I overheard a person at the table next to me declare: "She's 28, he's 39, are you going through a midlife crisis?"

"At least when Brad Pitt was messy, it was someone with equal value," they added. "He went for top shelf, and Tom went for Kirkland brand."

When I asked the fans if they were there because of the scandal, they admitted feeling conflicted about coming to Schwartz & Sandy's because they were #TeamAriana — but they were too curious to pass it up.

After all, every reality TV fan loves drama.

After saying goodbye to our new friends, Kayla and I headed to TomTom.

After saying goodbye to our new friends, Kayla and I headed to TomTom.
TomTom, which is also owned by Lisa Vanderpump, is in West Hollywood.      Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

TomTom, which opened its doors in 2018, was the first bar that Schwartz and Sandoval helped launch. Vanderpump asked the pair to join forces for her next West Hollywood venture, and both Toms have a 5% stake in the business after investing $50,000 each.

Vanderpump has no involvement in Schwartz & Sandy's. Sandoval revealed in the show's current season that he and Schwartz invested a million dollars into their dream bar (a quarter of a million came from Sandoval's parents). When it comes to Schwartz & Sandy's success, the stakes are clearly high for a lot of people.

While I've eaten at SUR a few times, I'd never been to TomTom and have wanted to check out the space for years. Plus, I wanted to see how it was faring in comparison to Schwartz & Sandy's.

TomTom has a completely different vibe from Schwartz & Sandy's, and Vanderpump's taste is evident throughout the space.

TomTom has a completely different vibe from Schwartz & Sandy
I loved TomTom's romantic and mystical vibe.      Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

Clocks and timepieces cover the entire back wall of one of the bars, while a huge tree stands in full bloom in the other room. Everything is dimly lit by glass orbs or chandeliers. The vibe to me felt sexy, mystical, and romantic.

Kayla pointed out that while Schwartz & Sandy's felt like a tiki bar "created for millennials," there was something more timeless about TomTom.

But while Schwartz & Sandy's is flourishing in the wake of Scandoval, a source told me that business has actually been down at TomTom because people are boycotting.

But while Schwartz & Sandy
The $17 "Nutcase" cocktail at TomTom.      Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

"People have been making reservations under 'Team Ariana' and not showing up," the source said. "We wish people knew we're all Team Ariana too!"

The food I tried at TomTom tasted more elevated than the fare at Schwartz & Sandy's.

The food I tried at TomTom tasted more elevated than the fare at Schwartz & Sandy
The $19 Kobe sliders at TomTom.      Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

I wanted to see how Vanderpump's touch would affect the menu at TomTom, and I was impressed with both dishes I tried. The deliciously creamy $15 goat cheese balls (famously beloved by former "Vanderpump" star Stassi Schroeder) lived up to their legacy. They were paired with a fresh salad that had a lovely and zingy white balsamic dressing.

The $19 Kobe sliders featured perfectly fluffy brioche buns, juicy patties, and some delicious grilled onions. My only wish is that there had been more of the remoulade tomato sauce.

The source told me the staff at TomTom love Madix so much, they wanted to replace the bar's famous portrait of Sandoval and Schwartz kissing with a photo of her instead.

The source told me the staff at TomTom love Madix so much, they wanted to replace the bar
The famous portrait of Schwartz and Sandoval at TomTom.      Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

Only time will tell how Sandoval's businesses will fare. But, as one TomTom source told me, they're not worried about Madix.

"Ariana's not just going to survive," they said. "She's going to thrive."

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