Best Bet in Culver City held its final service on Sunday, December 17, after being open for just five months. Jason Neroni, the chef/partner of Best Bet and the Rose Venice, is no longer involved with the two restaurants, according to Sprout, the restaurants’ primary investor and operator. Owned by Mike Glick, Sprout’s portfolio of affiliated LA restaurants also includes Republique, Redbird, Yangban, and Vespertine. Workers at Best Bet were notified late Sunday of the restaurant’s closure.
In response to the closure, Sprout and Neroni issued a joint statement to Eater via email:
“After a decade of work together on The Rose Venice, Catch & Release, and Best Bet, Chef Jason Neroni and his partnership group are announcing their mutual decision to part ways. Chef Neroni has been on the front lines of the restaurant industry for 30 years, and after Covid and a particularly rough year of personal loss, he has decided to take a step back from day-to-day operations to focus on his family and his hospitality consultancy. We thank you for your support over the years.”
Neroni first announced Best Bet back in 2019, he originally planned a Tokyo-style pizzeria in the former A-Frame and IHOP space. When Neroni finally opened the restaurant in July 2023, his California Italian menu had expanded greatly to include pasta, pizza, and rotisserie dishes. Throughout his long career, Neroni said he always designed menus to represent other creative visions, but with Best Bet, he insisted it was his “most personal restaurant.” Best Bet’s walls and back bar were littered with Neroni’s collection of artwork, photography, and Star Wars and other pop culture memorabilia. Within the first few months, Best Bet received more media coverage from the Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Los Angeles Magazine, and Infatuation.
The schism between Neroni and Sprout has been months in the making, according to sources close to the situation who requested to remain anonymous. The partnership, sources say, began falling apart around the time of Best Bet’s summer opening. Starting in mid-November, a source tells Eater, Neroni was no longer seen regularly on the premises. The chef shared on social media during this time that he had been hospitalized due to pneumonia. Neroni also shared on Instagram and Facebook news of his mother’s death earlier this year; Sprout confirmed that Neroni was given an “extended leave of absence” due to bereavement.
As for the future of the Best Bet space, Sprout said it will open another restaurant in the location but does not have a specific plan or timeline. When asked if Best Bet’s newly unemployed workers were given a severance or offered positions elsewhere in the company, Sprout said, “We do not comment on personal or private matters.” Regarding the future of the Rose, which opened in 2015 and serves upwards of 10,000 people a week, Sprout said, “We are fortunate to have a great team in place. We will be exploring all options for who we bring on board in the new year.”
The abrupt end of Neroni’s tenure marks a period of relative stability for the chef, who was previously involved with Superba Snack Bar in Venice. Before that, Neroni was the executive chef of Osteria La Buca on Melrose Avenue for about eight months. The Southern California native built most of his career in New York City, working at fine establishments Le Cirque, Tabla, and Essex House, though he had a controversial split with Porchetta, citing “irreconcilable differences” at the time. Neroni continues to operate B-Side Pizzeria in New York.