The main cast of Vanderpump Rules has been the same for six seasons now — sure, some cast members (Stassi, for example) have drifted out and in of the main group, but for the most part, viewers have gotten to know and love (or the opposite) players like Jax Taylor, Scheana Marie, Tom Schwartz, and Katie Maloney for years. But there’s one SURver in particular who is definitely leaving the warm, safe confines of Lisa Vanderpump’s signature restaurant. Does Vanderpump Rules star Tom Sandoval still work at SUR in 2018? He’s working on his own projects right now.
If you’re a longtime Vanderpump Rules viewer like myself, you know that Tom Sandoval started working for Lisa Vanderpump at her restaurant Villa Blanca, and he moved over to SUR when it opened a little later. Sandoval is one of Lisa’s star bartenders, and even throughout the drama that surrounds, uh, everything else in that restaurant, Tom is doling out inventive, delicious drinks to the hordes that dine in the place. That’s more than Jax can say, because Jax, as we all know, takes more shots than he serves and tends to drop things all over the place, leaving broken glass and tears behind. But Sandoval knows his stuff. That’s why it’s just a wee bit sad that Sandoval is departing SUR for his own gig — Tom Tom. For now, according to his Instagram, Sandoval is still tending bar, but not for long, because Tom Tom is on its way.
Tom Tom came up at Schwartz’s wedding when Lisa offered the besties the chance to partner with her on a new venture. How good of a name is Tom Tom, right? You need two men named “Tom” to do it. So, Sandoval and Schwartz have been tirelessly working on this new place, meaning that any time that Sandoval spends behind the bar at SUR is not long for this world. Sorry, fans who go to see him — head over to Tom Tom instead. Though there were some light shenanigans in Las Vegas with Schwartz and Sandoval being careless and really late to a big meeting with Lisa, it’s all going well now, and Tom Tom is set to open sometime in June. In an interview with Bustle, Schwartz says, “The excitement’s mounting day by day. We’re downright giddy right now. It’s still two months to go, but there’s so much to be done.” Sandoval agrees, saying. “I was like, having dreams about it last night. It’s been constantly on my mind.”
Sandoval says that one of the best parts of all of this was partnering with Lisa and her husband, Ken Todd, because they’ve opened so many restaurants that it’s impossible not to learn something cool from them. And in return, Sandoval is sharing his views and ideas with Lisa and Todd. “[During the process,] I’m on the phone with Ken, and we’re brainstorming… it’s been great.” Sandoval says. “It’s been great to be with them as it's being built and sort of work together to make sure the place not only looks beautiful, but functions beautifully. It’s been a really exciting part of it.”
Obviously, when Tom Tom opens, Sandoval will have no place being behind the bar at SUR — he has his own restaurant now that he’s a partner in. He’s working with Ken and Lisa and his best friend, so why even bother to take any shifts at SUR? Sandoval is also excited to build his own staff. “To me, it’s about hiring people who know what they’re doing, who can take responsibility… what’s going to be different about this place is that it’s going to be less about your headshot and what movie or modeling campaigns you’ve done,” he says. "It’s going to be about your experience in the restaurant and bar industry."
It’s a fair point, and Sandoval has enough experience with Lisa to know whom to hire and why. With Sandoval moving on up to this new project, there’s room behind the bar at SUR for an experienced barkeep — maybe Jax will be able to step it up? Sandoval will be busy, after all, building his future.