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I Waited 3.5 Hours for a Something About Her Sandwich. Was It Worth It?

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Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images

In ordinary circumstances, I’m waiting 25 minutes max for a sandwich, and it had better be good. But the opening of Something About Her, a new sandwich shop co-owned by Vanderpump Rules stars Ariana Madix and Katie Maloney, is not an ordinary circumstance, so I waited in line for three and a half hours.

That I got my hands on any sandwiches at all felt slightly miraculous. It’s been more than two years since Something About Her was announced; permitting delays and shifting staff made it unclear if the restaurant would ever open or if it would instead go the way of Sonja Morgan’s toaster oven, much-hyped but never quite real. But lo: Something About Her (or SAH) has arrived in West Hollywood, opening at 10:25 a.m. on a gray Wednesday in late May.

Officially, the shop was supposed to open at ten. I arrive at 9:35, not knowing whether to expect a mob or a few die-hard fans. The line wraps around the smoothie shop next door and winds back into the alley. (I hoped, of course, for an alley like the one behind SUR, where SAH staff might one day scream at one another on TV, but the space behind SAH is, for now, pristine.) There are 50 people ahead of me; the first on line are Vanderpump podcasters who tell me they showed up at eight. Every other minute, someone new joins the line, often with an iPhone held aloft, and I feel the distinct dread that comes with knowing I might wind up on someone’s TikTok, scowling at the edge of the screen.

Because I expect to be standing there awhile, and because there are few alliances more readily formed than those between people stuck waiting for something together, I make fast friends with the people standing near me. Just behind me is a personal assistant named Blanca, whose celebrity employer she refuses to name, despite my begging; she will say only that her boss is a “big fan” of VPR. In front, two young women with nose rings and perfect makeup tell me SAH is the last stop on a VPR restaurant tour they undertook the night before. Over the years, I’ve heard many people call the various Vanderpump Rules restaurants — SUR, Tom Tom, Schwartz & Sandy’s, Jax’s Studio City, the late Pump (RIP) — Disney World for Bravo fans. In some ways, Something About Her feels closer to an American Girl Doll store than a Panera Bread. Several patrons tell me they are squeezing in SAH, whose opening date came as a surprise, as part of a preplanned tour of Vanderpump spinoff restaurants; this strikes me as a culinary commitment beyond my tenacity.

Photo: Katie Heaney
Photo: Katie Heaney

Between Blanca, me, and the Gen-Z girls, I am the only one to reach the restaurant’s front doors. After getting the goods — selfies with Katie and Ariana — they give up on sandwiches. (Blanca’s boss needs her for more urgent celebrity matters, so she settles for a T-shirt.)

But let me back up. By the time I show up at 9:35, Ariana is already inside. Around 9:50, Katie arrives, and a small cheer erupts from the line ahead. At 9:55, a speaker system announces that the 9 a.m. lap swim is over, and swimmers need to exit their lanes. (There is a pool next door.) At ten, two SAH staff members in black SAH T-shirts and skirts make a half-hearted attempt to reroute the line, explaining that we are blocking several other businesses, including a coffee shop and SUR (not open until 5 p.m.). Collectively deciding this isn’t our problem, no one moves.

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I ask these staff members to chat a couple times, but they demur, saying they aren’t allowed to speak to the press. I try anyway, asking if they are hoping for their own spinoff show, and they laugh, determinedly indifferent, like the very idea is insane.

Around 10:20, the crowd takes on mutinous overtones. A married couple from south L.A., who took off work to be there, tell me the restaurant “should have been more prepared.” I have to agree with them — especially after staffers inform us the point of sale isn’t working. Still: Haven’t these people seen Vanderpump Rules? Is complete confidence in one’s unpreparedness not the ethos on which the show and all its chaotic iterations were built? Anyway, it has only been a 25-minute delay (… two years and 25 minutes).

While we wait, Katie and Ariana move backward through the line, taking pictures and thanking patrons for their patience. They are beautiful, with slicked-back hair and practiced selfie angles; Ariana in particular is very friendly. She and Katie tell me their favorite sandwiches on the menu are always evolving; currently, Ariana is “really into the Cameron” (Italian cured meats) right now, while Katie likes the Reese (chicken salad). Asked about their tech issues, Katie smolders into the middle distance and replies, “Murphy’s law.”

The line moves in fits and starts; I make new friends. Like me, Rachel and Emily are VPR fans from Minnesota, which gives us enough to talk about for the next hour and change. At noon, they hold my place on line while I check in with the tail of it, which stretches down the block. I meet two sisters who joined the line 20 minutes earlier. When they tell me they’re unsure what to order when they get inside, I find their optimism moving. My hunger intensifies.

When the hour approaches an actual lunchtime, the energy around the storefront grows manic. A trio of paparazzi show up around 12:15, and a woman leaning halfway out a celebrity-home tour bus screams, “ARIANA!” as she rides by. Some guy a few spots ahead on line seems like he must know Katie and Ariana personally, given the way he is lingering by the front door, but then when they appear in the doorway, he keeps yelling, “Queens!” and “We don’t deserve you!”

Photo: Katie Heaney

At 12:30, after three hours on line, I finally walk into Something About Her. It’s an intimate space, with a half-dozen tables and three times as many pillows. Designed by Jon Hutman, Nancy Meyers’s production designer, the vibe is correspondingly coastal ’90s chic with Tiffany-blue latticework and white chandeliers. The tables are full, and I don’t wish to eat alone surrounded by people taking pictures, so I order my sandwiches to go. The shop’s tech issues mean I can’t get a receipt, printed or otherwise (?), so the cashier has me take a picture of her card reader. Teri Maloney, Katie’s mom, hands me the chips and chocolate-chip cookie I ordered.

Photo: Katie Heaney
Photo: Katie Heaney

SAH does not make its bread or pastries, and at first, nobody is able to tell me who does. (“I should know,” a cashier tells me; again, I have to agree.) While waiting outside for my order, eating the quite good cookie, I try Ariana, feeling absurd for directly addressing someone whose life I watched implode on television. (“Um, Ariana? Sorry: Who is your baker?”) She tells me she will check with the chef. When she returns, she touches my shoulder so gently, smiling so kindly, and says, “Larder.” I think, Wow. I don’t deserve her.

By the time I get to the register, they are out of the Cameron (salami, soppressata, mortadella, pepper, etc.), so that seems to be the most popular choice of the day. (The sandwiches are named after actresses associated with romantic comedies, some more loosely tied than others.) A mission statement printed on the menu refers to SAH as a “cherished sanctuary” and says Katie and Ariana wanted “our sandwiches to evoke nostalgia.” Let’s see about that. Here’s what I thought of the sandwiches I tried:

Photo: Katie Heaney

The Diane (Keaton, I think? Tuna salad, sunflower microgreens, fennel, lemon, dill)

This seemed to have pieces of hard-boiled egg in it as well, and while I wasn’t necessarily disappointed by that discovery, I was surprised. The fennel really comes through. I think. I’m actually not sure what fennel tastes like. Not bad.
Rating: 3 out of 5 goat-cheese balls

The Reese (Witherspoon; chicken salad, small-batch mustard, gem lettuce)

The chicken salad is simple but tasty. I wonder if they were out of the mustard, because my Reese came with balsamic glaze, and I liked it! Something to consider for SAH.
Rating: 4 out of 5 goat-cheese balls

The Drew (Barrymore; goat cheese, mango-jalapeño jam, apple, cucumber, olive oil, balsamic, arugula, mint)

I was excited to arrive at a sandwich with a sauce. I like the flavors here a lot, but it needs more cheese — my sandwich had only the thinnest layer. I really like the mint, which balanced the spicier jam nicely.
Rating: 4 out of 5 goat-cheese balls

The Viola (Davis, because of Shondaland, I guess? Turkey, mayo, red pepper, balsamic onion marmalade, gouda, cucumber, red onion)

I don’t eat turkey, so I enlisted my partner to eat this one. She said, “The ratio is a little off; I want more cucumber and pepper. But the flavors are good.”
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 goat-cheese balls

The Grilled Cheese (Swiss cheese)

It seems SAH doesn’t feel safe associating any Hollywood actress with this one. In fairness, I ate this after a 45-minute Uber ride home. The cheese was not fully melted. I like a simple grilled cheese, but think they need to add a second cheese for depth of flavor here.
Rating: 2 out of 5 goat-cheese balls

Photo: Katie Heaney
Photo: Katie Heaney

SAH sandwiches average $15 each, which is a pretty good price these days, especially because they come with a dill-pickle spear. (If you dine in, you also get grapes, but no such luck for me, to go!) If not for the almost four-hour wait, I would happily eat the Reese and the Drew again. This past season, VPR attempted to villainize Ariana for very reasonably not wanting to hang out with the world’s worst ex-boyfriend. Meanwhile, Instagram commenters, podcasters, and some of her castmates doubted her sandwich shop would ever open. And yet: Something About Her is here, and actually, it’s pretty good! Ariana’s revenge is a dish best served cold on rustic ciabatta.

Related

  • Ariana Madix’s Dating Red Flags
  • I Think About This a Lot: Vanderpump Rules Edition
  • Ariana Madix Takes Her Victory Lap to Broadway



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Katie Heaney , 2024-05-23 16:08:48

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