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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Echo Park restaurant trades parking spaces for outdoor tables

Perhaps one of the most important amenities that a business in auto-centric Los Angeles can offer to its customers is off-street parking. But, this week, one Echo Park business, the Brite-Spot   restaurant, began the job of  shrinking the size of its parking lot. A crew of workers assisted by a small bulldozer began ripping up a section of the asphalt parking lot outside the front door of the longtime Echo Park diner as part of the construction of an outdoor dining room at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Park Avenue.  It’s not clear how many parking spaces will be removed but Brite Spot owner Dana Hollister, who also owns Cliffs Edge in Silver Lake among other restaurants and bars,  plans to add 40 outdoor seats as part of a restaurant makeover  that includes a new chef and menu, according to LAist.

The restaurant, which is undergoing some interior renovation,  will reopen on Thursday, according to the Brite Spot Facebook page. But a crew ripping up the parking lot said it would be several more days before that project is completed.  Now, with less off-street parking and more seating, where are all the additional Brite-Spot customers going to park?



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58 comments

  1. Unsure about this. I love Brite Spot for the local color and kitsch factor, and I don’t mind going into zen mode on a busy weekend morning. I like when restaurants have the opportunity to add value to themselves.

    But when they’re busy it can be as chaotic as a just-stomped-on anthill, and adding tables will compound that. And parking is a Tetris game as it is.

    So it goes. New chef, new menu, no parking, and the culture and history will slide…

    • Kitsch factor ?
      That was the original Brite Spot that still had the plates on the wall and the familiar waitresses that had been there forever .
      Nothing kitsch about the Brite Spot now.

  2. The best move yet…take away the asphalt and enjoy the California weather while you eat your breakfast…So you park on the street. We can all afford to walk a little more.

    • You don’t see the forest for the tress being in the way. Yes, now, all those cars the restaurant generates will be demanding and taking up street parking instead. People certainly aren’t going to walk because they take out parking spaces, nor bike. They instead will take the parking on the residential street nearby, serving to deny residents the ability to park in front of their own homes!

      I haven’t seen those residents parking in the restaurant’s parking lot, and it is quite selfish to have the restaurant now decide to just fill up the residents’ street — all so it can make ever more and more and more money at the residents’ expanse!

      Failing to handle the cars and parking that you generate, and dumping it on the community instead, is just wrong. And so are city policies that allow it.

      • I mean…weren’t there only about 6 parking spaces? We’re not talking a humongous influx of cars here, are we?

      • Making more and more money at the residents’ expense? You apparently don’t know much about the restaurant business. No one’s getting rich running a small diner. The desire to add more seating probably comes from an inability to make ends meet with their existing capacity. This isn’t some rich 1 percenter sticking it to the community.

        And what residential street are you talking about? Sunset? Glendale? Park? There aren’t a lot of homes on any of those streets close to the Bright Spot. The streets doesn’t belong to the residents, they belongs to the city. If there is limited parking on a street then I wouldn’t be surprised to find a bunch of houses that aren’t using their garages and driveways to park their cars.

        • “Brite Spot owner Dana Hollister, who also owns Cliffs Edge in Silver Lake among other restaurants and bars”

          Doesn’t sound like Dana has owned the Brite Spot for very long and I bet he/she is part of the 1 percent considering what the article said about the number of other businesses this person owns.

          What Dana is doing to the Brite Spot is gentrification at it’s worst. So all the “diners” now in Silver Lake will eventually look alike after a while.

          • Sorry Xman. Embrace the changes, friend. It’s not all bad. Cliffs Edge is a fantastic restaurant! If a little of that can rub off on the Brite Spot, that would be a good thing!

            Is being part of the 1 percent an indictment? You sound a bit, well you know, jealous…

  3. There are so few places to sit outside on a sunny day, I think this is great. It’s also wonderful to see a business expand. There are a bunch of street spots behind Taix and a cheap lot a couple of blocks down behind Stories, etc, and if you’re feeling lazy – valet at Taix.

  4. This is great. Hopefully there will be some barrier between the space and Sunset. And hopefully they won’t have the usual one server covering the whole restaurant.

    • And hopefully that the server(s) isn’t in a stoned stupor forgetting everything you ordered.

      • Stop whining Echo Park

        Stoned stupor? I have always had excellent service at the brite spot.

        • It was the last time we ate there, after that non- dinner service from said stoned waiter. He could barely function. We loved the elderly lady waitress that stayed for a number of years after the change of ownership. She cared about service, she was FAST and efficient. It’s too bad her young co-workers never learned skills from her. We’ll be happy to try the newly revamped Brite Spot with hope that there will be improvement in service. The food was never an issue.

  5. Dumbest idea ever, there is so little parking as it is. They should concentrate on not changing their menu every 3 months instead, not to mention now that $15 grilled cheese will likely cost $20

    • Stop whining Echo Park

      $15? I think you need to take off your fake thrift store glasses to see the menu. It’s less than $8.

      • After tax and tip and something to drink. That’s at least $15 out the door for eating a grilled cheese sandwich.

        The Brite Spot was never that kind of place until it changed hands to the current owner. That’s too bad.

  6. So, when a new business/building has to provide a certain amount of parking spaces as per zoning, they can plow over that after a certain time period?

    • I’m wondering about that too, perhaps they’re grandfathered in because the building is so old and the current parking requirements are thus waived? Or maybe they’re in a parking swap deal with the Citibank building, borrowing some spots in their garage on weekends and evenings (when Bright Spot is most crowded, and presumably that garage is empty)?

      I used to live right around the corner and there’s really no shortage of off-street parking (Citibank, Angeles Temple, City Lots behind Jensens Rec), it’s just a matter of businesses and stakeholders working out a solution to share it during street festivals and special events when the street parking is all taken.

      • Don’t the Angelus Temple folks own that building too? If so, no chance in hell they’ll share their abundant parking with the neighborhood.

  7. Good to read that there’s a new chef and menu, all previous visits have been dreadful, food awful and tardy service. Not that I’ll get the opportunity to visit now the few parking spots they offered have been removed. In this neighborhood you risk getting your vehicle vandalized parking anywhere except Sunset,,,and even then…….

  8. It doesn’t make much a difference since there was hardly any parking to begin with; something like a 16 spaces. My guess is the patio extension will take the 4 spaces out towards the corner, leaving about a dozen. It’s even more moot since the Citibank building next door has a huge parking structure.

  9. at some point in the near future, patrons will be able to enjoy a walk around the lake after a meal…..NICE!

  10. geez, some people are so negative.

    i’m looking forward to enjoying a meal in the the open air here soon! (and i predict the patio will be packed on warm days/evenings.)

  11. Glad to see an Echo Park institution reap the benefits of gentrification, but sad to see prices hiked up yet again. From greasy spoon neighborhood joint to fancy-pants diner … gentrification growing pains.

    • Yup. And to make it worse, the Brite Spot isn’t the only old diner to go through this process. These renovated eateries are not honoring the culture of the original diner so they’re becoming generic gentrified restaurants.

      Is Millie’s, on Sunset, next?

  12. I think the people panicking about the removal of parking spots really need to reassess their lives. This is a wonderful move on the restaurant’s part. There’s always parking around there–it’s just a tad difficult when there are concerts at the Echo/Echoplex. As far as neighborhoods go, if you have to park a little farther away, you might as well do it in Echo Park where walking most anywhere is pleasant. The Sunset buses scoot back and forth every five minutes and run 24 hours; moreover, there are bike lanes. You have no excuse to bitch.

    • And for those who are handicapped?
      Can’t help but notice the HUGE handicapped space in the pic.

      • I’m certain they have to provide handicapped parking. Isn’t that federal law?

        • I guess we’ll see….eventually.
          And if they do leave some parking spaces, or even just the handicapped space, I think I’d be a little leery of sitting so close to people attempting to park their cars.

          Just a quick look at all the parking lot scars left by cars in EVERY lot (poles, tire stops, walls, etc.), would make me think it’s a disaster in the making….

      • Why aren’t you asking about all of the restaurants on this stretch of Sunset that have no parking at all? It was always a luxury to have on site parking at the Bright Spot. Now that luxury is gone. I have a feeling that the people complaining about it weren’t eating there anyway.

        • Why aren’t you questioning the possibility that they convert the whole parking lot to tables and eliminate the handicapped spot?

          Instead of deflecting the issue to ‘other restaurants, why not answer if you think it’s ok for that to happen?

  13. I sure miss the days of old bow-tied servers.

  14. Stop whining Echo Park

    I am excited about this! So what if the parking spot is smaller… MOST places in LA don’t have parking, especially local diners. If you are picking where to eat on parking then you must not eat at a lot of good places. Good food should always trump parking, especially when there is more than enough FREE street parking surrounding The Brite Spot. So what if you have to walk a few blocks to get good food & now with 40 extra seats, probably no wait. Stop whining Echo Park… cause the only other options are Fred 62 (barf) which doesn’t have parking either or House of Pies which the lot is always full anyways… not to mention their desserts don’t even compare to The Brite Spot’s.

  15. I miss the old Brite Spot, before it changed into what is its now. A nice patio to eat outside will be nice and especially if they improve on the food. It will never be the Brite Spot again. They took all the good food and character out of it. But hopefully it will be something good when they finish it.

    • Agreed. I would always go there on Sunday for a late breakfast after clubbing the night before.

      • When they first took over and changed it. They menu was only slightly changed. They got rid of the hobo omelet which was one of my favorites there. And then they ruined what were the best home fries around. Now they deep fry the potatoes. If I wanted over done fries with my eggs, I would order them . It was a great diner. Now what else do we have. Astro used to be good. The food is still good. But they raised the prices. It’s so over priced for what you get. And Nick’s is my favorite. They made a small patio in a few parking spaces. They get really busy with the new downtown crowd. Good for them But thats what keeps me away on Sunday mornings, The wait. The Brite Spot was good because it’s walking distance. This LA where history and character get thrown in the trash.

  16. Elimination of parking makes us as customers pay for parking ..I had my first Craigslist hookup there lol..now just a memory of a parking once upon a time..Car action savior…feed the meters studs…

  17. Really what about gang violence a drive by or something of that nature
    I hope its bullet proof too many young n stupid kids shooting @ innocent people
    Hope we ain’t sitting ducks…Craigslist Rocks….parking sucks…

  18. It made me really sad when they painted over the beautiful Texas Limestone on the building and I thought the quality of the food suffered over time. I do enjoy walking by the windows and seeing all the colorful characters eating in there. A new chef? Hmmm maybe it’s time for me to check it out again. Good for them making some outdoor seating. It’s nice having that option. Hopefully it won’t get overrun with dogs as some local spots have become.

  19. Well aint that special. Have been back since I was waited on /ignored by a young lady with a paunch and navel ring( nice view from eye level, she had some junk in the ol navel itself.) , rather disheveled and not so spiffed up (as in clean). OH wearing a shorty tank .and the management being a complete ass to one of the old time ladies who worked there for donkey years. No I am not cool ,yes I am “old”, how ever I try to conduct myself as a gentleman, YAll think Johny cash would revel in how “ironic it all is” and a grilled cheese is only worth about 4.50$

  20. The old time lady is probably Margaret. I used to go there all the time when my daughter was growing up and she would stop by the table and tell us stories about things like the time she dressed up as a privy on Halloween. I love her hot pink shirt – goes with her attitude. And she would always make sure my daughter ate her vegetables. And sometimes we’d see her on break, outside, smoking cigarette. Seemed right.

    Haven’t been to Brite Spot in a while – is she still working there?

  21. All I can say is if the prices go up AGAIN just because of a few new tables outside, that will be it for me. I love the BS and if they need more tables to accommodate their customers I’ll deal with the parking. Yes I can walk. But please guys, lets keep the menu prices where they are.

  22. I like the idea of eating outside, but whenever I’ve sat out at some place like Millie’s or Madame Matisse there has been so much noise from passing buses and trucks on Sunset that it’s just plain unpleasant. The places that seem better have the seating tucked off of Sunset a bit (like Tacos Delta, Café Tropical, La Esquinita, etc.)

  23. The place needed a makeover but I can only image what this will do to the prices at The Brite Spot? Can’t we have just one cheap greasy spoon in the neighborhood?

    • There IS a cheap greasy spoon in the neighborhood… actually there’s a few. My favorite is PATRA BURGER on Laveta and Sunset. The food is really good – that is – in a ‘greasy spoon’ sort of way. I love this place.

  24. Silver Lake resident

    New menu? Ugh! This probably means the prices will go up, and they’re already not cheap to begin with. I love the Brite Spot, but it’s really changed into some neo-hipstery joint in the past few months. The dingy style is what made it great.

    And if dogs are allowed on the patio, I’m gonna flip. All these Echo Park dog people think their dogs are “so cute” and “well behaved” and let them run wild. I’m so sick of eating a nice meal that’s interrupted by someone’s annoying, barking pooch. (And I love dogs, just not when I’m eating!)

  25. If you want really good reasonably priced food, try Siete Mares’ (3143 W Sunset) outdoor patio http://www.yelp.com/biz/la-playita-siete-mares-los-angeles Fabulous fresh fish and the daily specials are unbelievable! Great Ceviche, Fish Tacos, Shrimp Burritos…….and they have parking!

  26. Wow, who knew the Eastsider had so many whiners! Obviously, many of you complainers have never lived in a city like NYC or SF, where parking has nothing to do with your decisions on where to eat…and outdoor dining on a cool summer night is a luxury!
    I’d maybe suggest valet parking for them but the thought of that might just send some of you into a tailspin…the place is loosing 5 parking spots im told, it still has 10, more than most in Echo Park.
    Congrats to the owner for cleaning up that joint, they probably raised the prices on purpose to weed out some of you…I know I sure would.

    • LA is NOT NY and we’re all very thankful for that. Besides, NY had great public transit. Not the case in LA. At least not yet.

  27. I stopped going to the brite spot recently, its overprices for the quality of food you’re getting. As a local resident, any place that is taking away parking spaces for outdoor seating so i have to compete with patrons for parking is not a place i’m going to be a fan of. if i wanted to live near melrose and fairfax I would of moved there. The good things about the brite spot: late hours with malt shakes in walking distance, and the service is pretty good, esp that little old lady and the non-hipster chicano man.

  28. Bottom line, eating outside in L.A. is overated especially by a veritable freeway at a diner that has lost all it’s charm. Hopefully they keep the veggie items and make it somewhat affordable.

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