Vitello’s Italian restaurant in Studio City wants to keep playing music – Daily News

Many restaurants are facing tough times amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, but Vitello’s Italian restaurant faces an additional challenge. It is also a theater.

Co-owner Brad Roen has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help save the restaurant, which has been in Studio City since 1964. He’s looking for $85,000 through crowdfunding to spend the coming weeks.

“A year ago today, we employed over 70 people here in Studio City, many of them from the neighborhood, and now we employ fewer than 12 and are about to close,” the campaign pitch reads. .

Roen has been the managing partner of Vitello’s since 2010. In 2019, he transformed part of the restaurant into a 1940s-style supper club called Feinstein’s at Vitello’s in collaboration with artist Michael Feinstein. Artists such as Melissa Manchester and comedian Christopher Titus have performed there.

In a phone interview, Roen said he felt for his restaurant staff but also for the musicians laid off by the pandemic.

“The music industry is devastated. Remember those session guys, those drummers and bass players who support the star, they haven’t worked in a year. They’re in the worst shape in the world.

“Right now, more than ever in the world, we need live music,” he added. “We need something that makes our soul pleasant.”

The restaurant is open for take-out and recently started broadcasting live concerts from the showroom, including a concert by John Lloyd Young, who won a Tony for playing Frankie Valli in ‘Jersey Boys’, in the evening New Year’s Eve. The actor will then do a Q&A with Roen, which is a separate post.

“We will literally have two, three, four musicians on stage. And we implemented a four-camera HD system. And there’s nobody else in the room,” Roen said.

He said Vitello was coping with the pandemic with a 3,400 square foot tent in his parking lot. But then Los Angeles County, followed by the state, halted in-person dining after Thanksgiving, bringing all business to a halt.

Roen considers it a neighborhood institution, but in 2001 it made national news when actor Robert Blake’s wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley, was murdered in a car parked nearby.

The overall goal is for Vitello to pull through over the next few weeks.

Opened on December 21, the GoFundMe campaign raised more than $25,000, more than 25% of the financial goal.

“It doesn’t make sense that Vitello won’t be here in the future,” Roen said. “But if he doesn’t get help, maybe we won’t.”

Vitello’s Italian restaurant

Or: 4349 Tujunga Avenue, Studio City

Hours: 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 4 p.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday

Broadcasting of New Year’s shows: 8 p.m. Dec. 31, $30 plus fees; interview again, 9:15 p.m. $70 plus fee, feinsteinsatvitellos.com

Information: 818-769-0905, vitellosrestaurant.com

Crowdfunding campaign: gofundme.com/f/vitellos-restaurant-needs-your-help