On the evening of Thursday, May 18, Fiona Deane-Grundman, 23, and her three friends did the impossible: they booked a same-day dinner at Horses, a Los Angeles restaurant that has become a crowded destination for celebrities since it opened in the fall of 2021. .
Getting a prime no-announce booking at Horses is usually next to impossible for anyone other than, say, a Kardashian. This, however, was not just any Thursday night. The team had heard the rumors that set the internet ablaze in the past week, including some so lewd and gruesome they were straight out of a (very disturbing) movie. The two co-owners of the restaurant, who are currently going through what has become a very public divorce, have accused each other of abuse and domestic violence, the most shocking and highly publicized of which involves the abuse or murder of up to 14 of their own. pets. One of Deane-Grudman’s dining companions, Ben Leanos, 26, said he worried this might be his last chance to eat at Horses.
“We feel a little awkward,” Deane-Grudman said. “But they never have reservations.”
Even before the rumors, Horses was one of those restaurants whose reputation precedes it. Since opening, it has garnered critical acclaim for its vibrant atmosphere and well-executed California bistro food, and has become a magnet for celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Jay-Z, and Will Ferrell. Last summer, Eater’s reporting on disgraced restaurateur Ken Friedman’s involvement in the restaurant’s early days did little to downplay his popularity or ease the challenge of snagging a table.
But recent gossip has been darker. After several days of rumors on social media and speculation in group chats, the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday, May 17, that chef Liz Johnson was granted a restraining order against her husband and restaurant partner, Will Aghajanian, in November 2022 after accusing him of multiple forms of abuse, including killing more than one of his cats. In response, Aghajanian disputed the allegations, also accusing his wife of animal cruelty and saying she was trying to take control of the restaurant by assuming her legal involvement.
Although the drama was largely due to the couple’s divorce, it seems that it has occasionally spilled over into the restaurant. An employee allegedly threatened to resign due to the intense and violent tenor between the two, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Since news of the domestic and animal abuse allegations broke, staff who manage the restaurant’s email and Instagram have allegedly received death threats, according to a Horses employee.
On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 17, Horses posted a statement on Instagram stating that Aghajanian has not been involved in the day-to-day operations of the restaurant for the past six months.
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