August 9, 2018 at 11:43 am PST | by Susan Hornik
Vanderpump empire expands with Tom Tom

Lisa Vanderpump (center) partnered with Tom Sandoval and Tom Schwartz to open Tom Tom in WeHo. Photo Courtesy Tom Tom

Restaurant entrepreneur and reality TV star, Lisa Vanderpump, has opened her newest West Hollywood restaurant, Tom Tom. Her Bravo TV’s “Vanderpump Rules,” stars, Tom Sandoval and Tom Schwartz, are her new partners for this latest expansion of the Vanderpump empire.

“Never did I think that I would be opening one of the sexiest bars, with Ken and Lisa, on the iconic Santa Monica Boulevard,” Schwartz told the Los Angeles Blade. “I am constantly pinching myself! What an honor, a master class from two of the best in the biz.”

Vanderpump pitched the two Toms the idea at Schwartz’s wedding, which she officiated. Schwartz was, at first, hesitant.

“My reflex response was a firm and instant ‘no thank you.’ I’ve worked in the restaurant industry most of my life and had my fill at that point. Also, I was emotionally drained, and couldn’t fully appreciate the golden opportunity that had been presented to me,” he said. “After some time to decompress and reassess the situation, we fortunately came back to the idea and the rest is history in the making.”

“Working with Lisa is like getting another degree. I got my BS in exercise physiology at FSU. Now we are getting a master’s degree in the bar and restaurant business. She’s an entrepreneur, philanthropist, activist, television star, restaurateur, author—a huge source of inspiration for us both.”

Schwartz’s favorite item on the menu is the impossible burger. “It’s a testament to ingenuity and science and it’s frickin delicious. It’s the future. I’m not vegan but can feel myself going in that direction.”

The eclectic WeHo space has some impressive nuances.

“I wanted to create something really different,” said Vanderpump. “We have SUR down the road and Pump on the corner. To me, every space has to be unique. As soon as you walk into Tom Tom, you have a very different experience than the others.”

Vanderpump loves the feeling of transporting her customers to another world. “You get that feeling here; it’s as if you have gone back in time. The design elements were absolutely paramount to me, I worked very closely with interior designer Nick Alain, who really did an incredible job.”

She added: “Normally, I make all the decisions, so to listen to someone else and get their input is really special.”

Behind the bar there is a mesmerizing, old world-style brass clock, a floor-to-ceiling timepiece that makes you feel like you are on a movie set.

“Time means a different thing to me now, than it did previously,” acknowledged Vanderpump. Amid the joy of opening a new restaurant, the iconic reality star is dealing with the tragic loss of her brother.

“I lost my only sibling, my brother, 12 weeks ago. I don’t want to indulge in that emotion right now. I have had to pull my life together and carry on….that first month I couldn’t do anything. We very much do get caught up in what we are doing, we don’t realize the big picture of life.”

Vanderpump’s humanitarian work has greatly fulfilled her.

“All you can do is try to live a full life. That’s why (my husband) Ken and I have been very supportive to the LGBTQ community and animal rescue. This is very important; you have a responsibility to leave the world better than when you got there. Even just a small step makes the world a better place.”

In addition to the restaurant being gorgeous, so are the gay waiters, including one that can teach you how to twerk.

“Aside from working at Tom Tom, I’m known as the prince of twerk!” enthused JoJo Guadagno. “I’ve created a large following from posting several twerk videos and even teach a class every week.”

Guadagno loves working at TomTom. “I’ve learned from experience that figuring out the mechanics and kinks with the rest of the staff really makes you bond and create a family.”

Guadagno’s favorite dish is Vanderpump’s vegan rigatoni ragout. “I’m not even vegan, but it’s so delicious I can’t get enough of it. Coming from an Italian family, this pasta dish is definitely one you must try!”

The hot waiter’s passion for twerking has led him to start creating his own music to twerk to. Check out Guadagno’s new single “The Double Double” available on all music platforms.

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