Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Saying Goodbye to PUMP: May the Restaurant Reality TV Spawned RIP

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It’s over. The doors are locked. The furniture is gone. The Pump-tini and Lisa Vanderpump’s potato salad are no longer.

What will West Hollywood do without PUMP restaurant, the rare business to have lasted on the southeast corner of Robertson and Santa Monica Blvd. for more than a couple of years? Does anyone really remember Java Detour coffee and tea shop or the Voodoo Room tiki lounge at that same location? Hardly.

PUMP made it to almost a decade, but after nine years, and months of rumors of its impending closing date, owners Lisa Vanderpump and her husband, Ken Todd, have shuttered the restaurant for good.

The Vanderpumps made the decision when faced with signing another 10-year lease for the space, but with rent increased to $80,000 per month. Who could blame them for pushing back? That’s nearly $1 million a year just in rent—which doesn’t include paying their staff, utilities and food costs. No wonder Tipflation is out of control in L.A.

Truth be told, the pandemic was not kind to PUMP. The restaurant, like many, was closed for several months and when it finally returned, it was never the same. It was not open on Mondays and Tuesdays (and sometimes Wednesdays). It closed at midnight instead of 2 a.m. Although, if you walked by at 11:30 p.m., the security guard would always say they were already closed.

The past week has seen many a fan return to the iconic restaurant—made more famous by recent drama and scandal courtesy of Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules— to say their final goodbyes. Vanderpump, Todd and cast member Tom Schwartz were seen filming a scene for next season on July 2, during the last weekend of business.

A general view of atmosphere during POP Culture Living presents The Vanderpump Beverly Hills Collection Launch Hosted By Lisa Vanderpump on November 6, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for POP Culture Living)

There is so much to miss about PUMP: the eye candy wait staff hired unapologetically for their looks and reality show stardom potential, as opposed to, you know, skill. These reality ‘stars’ were literally born on the patio (the Tom-Ariana-Raquel drama, anyone?),where fake olive trees provide plenty of shade.

We will miss reading about all of the lawsuits—from past due invoices and unpaid overtime wages—and walking by tourists posing for selfies. But mostly, we will miss the memories of a fun brunch, dinner or quick drink before bar-hopping along Santa Monica. And we will miss the birthday parties and other celebrations which many of our friends have hosted at PUMP over the past 10 years. Often, Lisa and Ken would welcome you personally, happy to oblige for photos with anyone who asked. They’d even introduce you to their dogs, Giggy (RIP) and Puffy, and all the rest.

So where can you go now to experience the PUMP vibe? You won’t have to go too far. Vanderpump’s Tom Tom is just steps away and SUR Restaurant & Lounge is a short walk south on Robertson. Vanderpump says the two locations will begin to incorporate some of PUMP’s menu items, although it is unclear which ones.

And for those headed to Vegas, Vanderpump Cocktail Garden at Caesars Palace and Vanderpump a Paris at Paris Las Vegas are alive and thriving. And Vanderpump says two more Sin City locations are on the way.

If that isn’t enough, Vanderpump is bringing Wolf by Vanderpump to Harvey’s Lake Tahoe Hotel & Casino this winter, so now we finally have a reason to go back to the Sierra Nevada. Vanderpump tells Los Angeles, “Wolf will be filled with bold and unique designs, taking elements from the character and identity of the wolf itself. This opportunity to create a rich and indulgent space inspired by the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe was one I couldn’t resist. ‘Wolf’ has additional meaning as it is a family name and the middle name of my grandson Teddy.”

So while PUMP as a West Hollywood staple may be gone forever, there is still plenty of Vanderpump to go around. Cheers to that!

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