Arielle Chernin, the adorable, charming, hard-working general manager of Pizzeria Mozza - who apparently led a double life - must leave Los Angeles to avoid facing felony charges stemming from a August 1st bar room biker brawl in Echo Park that left six people injured, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Office said Wednesday evening.
Chernin, who had publicly announced this week she was leaving Los Angeles and her job at the revered pizzeria to "take a management position" at a San Francisco restaurant, was given an ultimatum by District Attorney Jackie Lacey:: "Get out of town or face charges" - for assault, malicious biting, destruction of city property, inciting a riot, and, the most serious of the offenses, HRV 21 of the California criminal code, which is the hoarding of raw vegetables during a drought.
"Normally", Lacey said. "Chernin would have been arrested, placed in county jail, given the opportunity to bail out and gone on to trial, but due to severe budget restraints and overcrowding in the jails, she was given the options of "getting out of Dodge". Based on what I know of Chernin, I think it's best for the city if she just gets the hell out."
Nancy Silverton, Chernin's boss for several years, expressed a range of emotions when she was told of Chernin's lawless behavior.
"I couldn't believe it at first," said Silverton when reached by email in Italy. "I mean, here is a woman who was the epitome of team Mozza spirit. She was fun. She was a leader. She had this great energy. She started the Employee of the Month award program. She was the first one blowing up balloons at parties. Then to learn she is a drunken bar fighting biter, well, I guess you never really know someone. She sure had me fooled."
Privately, Silverton expressed relief Chernin was leaving. "Mozza got hit with a $15,000 fine for using excessive water after midnight during a drought. You know who was using the water and why? That crazy Arielle, after one of her crazy midnight runs, was using the hose in the manager's parking lot to wash her hair. Don't print that. No one would believe it. But, think about it. Who the hell runs around Los Angeles in a skimpy outfit at midnight."
As news vans parked outside the Chernin family complex near Boston hoping to get a quote, Arielle's father Phil, drove up, ignored reporters and headed to the front door. Half-way up the porch, however, he tripped on a empty Svedka vodka bottle, remnants of a party his daughter hosted many years ago.
"Look," Phil Chernin said as he turned to address the media, "Why don't you parasites leave my family alone? We are going through a trying time."
While most of the reporters respected his wish, one did not. It was Morty Goldstein, Jr., the tenacious award-winning journalist from Los Angeles who yelled out "Were you shocked when you heard that Arielle didn't really have a job offer in San Francisco, but was being ordered to get out of Los Angeles?"
Phil Chernin stepped toward the front door, but then shocking the hoards of media. stopped and told this story.
"No, I wasn't shocked. I was saddened, yes, but, not shocked. I some ways I was, and you might not believe this. but i was strangely relieved. Me and my wife, Alciia have known since Arielle was a toddler that she was a troublemaker. And we both felt it was simply a matter of time before everyone else found out, too."
"Can you give us an example?", Godlsteien yelled out.
At this point, Phil was joined on the porch by his wife. Alicia. Alicia spoke up
"Sadly, I can,", said Alicia. "When Arielle was in pre-school at Brookline Schools Staff Children's Center. she got into a fight with a girl named Paige ( not to be confused with Front Paige Handler ). Our little Arielle is kicking some royal ass, But, that's not enough for Arielle. A simple beat down wouldn't do. . Arielle moves in and bites Paige. Went Mike Tyson on her. Took a piece of Pagie's ear out. They said you could heard that girl scream all the way to New Hampshire."
"Afterward,", Phil interjected, "The girl's mother storms over hear and say "You people have raised a monster. You people have raised Arielle the Biter."
And that is how the kindly, sweet appearing Arielle Chernin became to be known as "The Biter".
Phil and Alicia. hugged briefly, Not knowing there was a remote microphone on the porch, Alciia was heard asking Phil, "Do you think we should tell them about the time she sneaked all that vodka into the High School prom?" Phil shook his head and then addressed the media again. "Please give us some time alone." They walked inside.
But, just then. Arielle's brother came home, and he was either a very bad walker and stumbling drunk as he zig zagged up the driveway.
Morty Goldstien yelled out again.
"Yo, little bro. Do you think your sister is guilty.?
"I love my sister. But, she is more guilty than O.J. She can be ruthless."
Keith reached into his pocket and took a pull out of a "airplane" bottle of Svedka vodka and told a disturbing story about Arielle and that very ruthlessness.
"My sister and I used to spend a lot of time at our Popo (that's grandma in Chinese) 's house. She lived on the 9th floor of this tall building so we had to take the elevator up to her apartment. We were going up the elevator one day and Arielle (maybe 12 at the time) says 'Keith, (I was around 8 at the time), I bet I can kick my leg over your head'. She was confident she could do it cause she was pretty good at gymnastics. I didn't really have time to respond before she swung her leg up in the air and kicked me smack in the face.. As my eyes were starting to tear from the shock/pain she looked at me, shrugged, and walked out of the elevator as we arrived on the 9th floor. She kicked me in the face and ;never apologized."
Court records show that Arielle first job was a bar maid at Matt Murphy's Irish Pub, that was owned by her best friend Cierra's mom. Old school drinkers still fondly recall the site of 13-year-old Arielle working the room, two mugs of beer in one hand, a shot of Jameson in the other.
Chernin's love - and sheer athletic talent - provided an outlet for the young outlaw. Sadly, even sports couldn't outrun the evil streak Arielle possessed.
In her second Boston Marathon, around Mile 22, she had planned to "high five" Phil, Alicia, Keith and others It was her photo moment. But, just before she arrived at the pre-planned spot for the photo, another runner ran in the way.
"I watched in horror as my very daughter wickedly pushed that poor, old man out of the way so she could have her photo slash high five moment," said Alicia. (For the record, that man was Frank Shorter, who won the 1972 Gold Medal in the marathon at the Mexico City Olympics. Shorter, now 67, has never fully recovered from that shove, which has become known as the "Arielle Push".)
Back in Los Angeles, reaction to the news the mild-mannered one was actually a hell cat was meet with a variety of reactions.
"I hope she gets the help she needs," said Aex Munoz, director of Operations of Mozza. "As for Mozza, It's a tremendous loss. She's the best GM I've ever had"
Still, Munoz, who once faced criminal charges himself for - in a desperate attempt to increase Osteria sales. - putting not only waterboarding on the secret menu. but Barolo-boarding as well, felt it would be the best thing for the restaurant if Chernin left. "The restaurant simply couldn¹t support her raw carrot addiction and , like i said, i really hope she gets the help she needs"
Former Mozza GM David Rosoff concurred about the vegetables. "That little Tupperware container of raw vegetables had to be soaked in hooch."
Kate Green, Silverton's assistant, said that she really wasn't stunned to learn of Arielle's other life. "Nobody's is that perfect. I will say she is quite ambitious. I wouldn't even be surprised to find out she will be running for the Republican nod for president. She's half Jewish. Half Chinese, right? I mean half of her wants to build a wall around the Gaza Strip and the other half wants to build Cantonese take out joints next to the wall."
Kirstie Brittany Lee, a Pizzeria Mozza manager who worked under Chernin, said she was not "totally stunned" by the news that Chernin was trouble.
"Your talking about a cute 20-something woman who would go running at midnight. Midnight in Los Fuckin Angeles? Please. The only people running at midnight in Los Angeles are people who either want to get hurt or want to hurt someone. Maybe that's when she would go out an bite people. They should call her the MIdnight Biter. Hey, I want to play her in the movie."
Mozza GM Will Simons said he "never bought those sweaty midnight runs, either."
"Bull shit if that was some Marathon training shit," Simons said. "It might be some type of so-called "training", but I bet it was, was.., Ya know what? I don't even want to say."
Still, despite suspicions, on the job at Mozza, Chernin was on top of things. She set a record of picking up 61 napkins in a single season ( 2013) and was the staff biggest cheerleader. (In comparison, Sam Schramberg once picked up a single napkin in 2010, but dropped it when a leggy blonde walked in.)
"Arielle was tireless," said "Front" Paige Handler, ( Not the Paige who was bit,) "The only times she slacked off working when was when there was a cute guy at one of the bars eating. "
"Yeah," Adam Boardman concurred. "She had this unique way of seeing if the guy was interested in her. She called it her "Man Test". Arielle would come to me and say "Watch that guy I've been talking to. I'm gonna drop a napkin and then bend over to pick it up. Let me know if he looks at my ass. If he doesn't, well charge him for all the drinks.."
So Arielle Chernin will be leaving Los Angeles and leaving Mozza soon. And while law enforcement officials are relieved she is moving out, at least one Mozza regular is sad.
Michael Krikorian, the restaurant's unofficial chief of security, said he would deeply miss Arielle.
"I knew if there was ever any trouble going down at Mozza, Arielle would be right there in the thick of things and have my back," Krikorian said. "But, the other thing i feel kinda bad about? All those years I knew her, she never once bit me."