San Fernando Valley restaurant the Bellwether has closed permanently. Co-owner and chef Ted Hopson tells Eater that the restaurant will not return since shutting down this spring as part of the ongoing global pandemic, meaning the popular Studio City spot has served its last meal.
“After 5 years of serving our community, there is just no way for us to move forward as a sustainable business,” Hopson says. “We have brainstormed and mapped out all scenarios to make the business work, but sadly, even running at 50% capacity, we cannot sustain the business. The costs of trying to pay our staff a fair wage, pay the farmers and suppliers for their hard work, and pay rent just add up too quick and too high.”
Hopson and Ann-Marie Verdi opened the Bellwether in 2015 after working together as part of Sang Yoon’s restaurant complex, including Father’s office and Lukshon. The duo quickly built a following across LA, even earning praise from Jonathan Gold. And while the Hopson and Verdi did transition to some takeout and to feeding those in need during the first round of indoor dining shutdowns, it now seems that the financials have caught up with the company, as they have for so many others already.
We wanted to say thank you to everyone for the best 5 years we could hope for. We have gotten to serve hundreds of thousands of people, cook at charity events around the city, and be recognized for the hard work by our whole team. We truly don’t believe we could have made it this far without everyone, from all of our cooks and bussers to the chefs and bartenders; from the people who gave us a chance on a Saturday night, to the guests who would come every Tuesday. We felt the Bellwether become part of the community, and we love that.
Now, we have to say goodbye. There is nothing more heartbreaking to us than to see it all wash away. Ann-Marie and I have poured everything we have into this restaurant, all of our money, our time, our lives. Our guests became our friends, our staff became our family. Now because of the pandemic, we are left with nothing but the great memories.
The list of ongoing closures continues to grow around Los Angeles as the city (and the world at large) continue in the face of the months-long pandemic. Other notable closures include Ma’am Sir in Silver Lake, Beverly Soon Tofu in Koreatown, Trois Mec in Hollywood, and Broken Spanish in Downtown, among many others.