The cruelest question one can ask a young person in West Hollywood who identifies him or herself as an actor is the classic: “So what restaurant do you work at?”
But on Jan. 7 it’s going to be possible for a small coterie of WeHo servers to proudly identify themselves as both actors and waiters. They are the staff of Lisa Vanderpump’s Sur, the Robertson Boulevard restaurant and lounge whose owner is famed for her role on two seasons of the reality TV show “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”
Bravo is giving Vanderpump her own reality show — “Vanderpump Rules” — which shows her trying to balance life as an owner of what is arguably West Hollywood’s most celebrity-focused restaurant while serving as mother to Pandora, 24, and Max, 18, and wife to Ken Todd, her husband of 29 years. And then there’s the job of managing a Beverly Hills home celebrated for Vanderpump’s multi-thousand-square-foot custom closet, featured on E! Online. Their previous home, which they sold after Pandora and Max moved out on their own, was lost in a fire in June, well after the Vanderpump-Todd’s sold it for a rumored $19 million.
The drama in the first episode of “Vanderpump Rules” focuses on her management of the Sur staff, a crew that’s glamorous in its own right. Staffers include Jax Taylor, identified by Bravo as an actor and model; Katie Maloney, who describes herself as a “music supervisor;” Kristen Doute, an actor; Scheana Marie, an actor and singer; Stassi Schroeder, a model and fashion writer, and Tom Sandoval, an actor and model. The issues Vanderpump must deal with include various sexual liaisons among the staff.
Vanderpump and Todd, with a joint net worth estimated by various gossip sites at around $150 million, own more than two dozen restaurants in the U.S. and abroad, including Villa Blanca in Beverly Hills. Their partners in Sur are Guillermo Zapata, an Argentinian chef, and his French wife, Nathalie. Vanderpump expanded the restaurant last year by opening Sur Lounge, which launched with a regular event called “Temptation Thursdays” by promoter Jeffrey Sanker to attract a gay crowd.
Vanderpump and Todd, both originally from England, made their fortune initially with a number of successful bars and restaurants in London. Vanderpump also has an acting background, with appearances in movies and television shows such as “A Touch of Class,” “The Wildcats of St Trinian’s,” “Silk Stalkings” and “Baywatch Nights.”