STUDIO CITY—A popular restaurant in the San Fernando Valley area, The Bellwether, will be closing for good, the company announced on Wednesday, September 23, as its final day of operation, according to co-owner and executive chef, Ted Hopson and Ann Marie.

After five years of operations, the restaurant will permanently close, due to the impact of the Coronavirus, which has caused Hopson serious financial problems, not allowing him to pay his workers and afford rent for the building.

Hopson, along with his co-owner, Ann-Marie Verdi, who serves as beverage director, opened The Bellwether in 2015, after they were initially employed together at the Sang Yoon restaurant complex, which included Father’s office and Lukshon.

The joint efforts of Hopson and Verdi at The Bellwether earned them a very positive review from Los Angeles Times restaurant critic, Jonathan Gold, who referred to their establishment as having a menu that was “aggressively on-trend,” among other bits of praise.

Hopson and Verdi attempted to accommodate their customers with takeout orders, but it was not enough to keep the business afloat.

“At this time, we have to announce that the Bellwether will not be reopening. After 5 years of serving our community, there is just no way for us to move forward as a sustainable business. 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.

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-Maire 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.
With all of our love,” said Ted and Ann-Marie on the company’s Facebook page.
Written By Kevin Ehsani and Donald Roberts