A couple weeks ago I thought I knew what I’d be doing to ring in the new year with friends, but hours before the big ball was set to drop Friday night I realized there was a distinct possibility that we’d be out in the cold, doing absolutely nothing.
New Year's Eve can either be a crowded nightmare of sorts or an absolute delight. It’s hard to get a reservation and places tend to be packed so I was thrilled to learn that my friend Adriana Dermenjian had secured dinner reservations at Citizen Smith, a restaurant and bar in Hollywood. Friday happens to be her 25th birthday -- Happy Birthday, Adriana! -- so the plan was to go big. We would have a relaxing dinner then dance the night away with a DJ spinning beats until we were deliriously happy.
The anticipation was growing as the big night grew nearer and I could tell my friend was especially excited about the birthday festivities. On Thursday, though, another friend of mine sent me a message asking me if Citizen Smith had closed down. I went online to investigate, and found a post on Eater LA that said the restaurant was suddenly closing: “The restaurant was abruptly shuttered by the court receiver put in place to settle the divorce of current operators Brett and Karina Sulzer.”
Wait a second. This had to be a mistake. After reading the article I called the restaurant repeatedly but got no answer. On my fifth call I tried to leave a message but after the beep was informed that their mailbox was full.
Sure, it seems like every other day a Los Angeles eatery shuts its doors but it’s a problem when you’re expected to have a party there the following evening for 16 people; especially when it happens to be New Year’s Eve!
With no announcement about the closing on the restaurant’s website and no phone calls to guests (Adriana gave them a contact number when she made her reservation) I won’t be surprised if people show up on New Year’s Eve, only to find a vacant space. In fact, the property has already been listed for lease on the real estate site LoopNet.
If you’re going to close down, so be it. At least have the decency to let your patrons know.
Luckily, we still have plans to ring in the new year in style at Vintage Enoteca, a wine bar in Hollywood that, bless their hearts, took a last-minute dinner reservation for a rowdy birthday party of 16.
Twitter / Jenn_Harris_
[Updated: An earlier version of this post misspelled Adriana's name on third reference. No, it's not a case of an editor drinking too much champagne -- it was a typo. Sorry Adriana!]
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