Studio City News
Vitello's Auctions Off Infamous Booth
By Ivetta Babadjanian
Aug 2, 2012 - 10:57:27 AM

STUDIO CITY—Vitello's, an Italian restaurant that resides in Studio City, will be auctioning off the infamous restaurant booth that Robert Blake sat in the night his wife Bonny Lee Blake was shot.
Robert Blake

Blake was a regular customer at Vitello's and he sat in the same booth each time. He even has a spinach and pasta dish named after him. However, the night of May 4, 2001, he allegedly walked his wife to their car around the corner of Woodbridge Street. He returned to the restaurant when he remembered that he left his gun in the booth and when he returned to the car, he found his wife shot to death.

He was tried and acquitted of the murder in 2005 as his .38 caliber pistol was tested and proved the gun was not the murder weapon. The same year he was found liable in civil court for wrongful death in a $30 million lawsuit brought forward by Blake's children.

The bidding for the booth will begin at $1,000 on ebay. It is still unclear when the booth will be available to the public as the restaurant's general manager Brad Roen and owner Matt Epstein have yet to decide whether to go through with the auction or not. They hope to get rid of the negativity of the booth and shed the past from the restaurant, especially after they reinvented their menu and the venue's layout. It hasn't been made official yet. Epstein is debating whether or not to re-install the booth upstairs in the jazz club area.

Rosanne Cooper, Studio City resident and a regular at Vitello's, used to pass by Blake's booth often before the restaurant was remodeled. "Anytime out-of-towners would visit me I'd bring them to Vitello's for the great food and also to point out the Robert Blake booth," said Cooper. "I'd never sit there, though, because it gave off bad vibes. I don't blame them for wanting to sell it, they want to be known for their food not a mysterious murder case."

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