After new owners took over the Brite Spot last year, one of the most significant changes they had in mind had nothing to do with the menu of the Echo Park diner.
“From the moment we took over, the most common request was to bring late night hours back," said Brooke Fruchtman who owns the Brite Spot with husband, chef Jaime Turrey. “It’s what the Brite Spot was known for.”
The Brite Spot’s prime location in a section of Sunset Boulevard with a bustling nightlife are prime conditions for extended hours to work. But not all restaurants are cut out for the late-night life.
Relatively few restaurants -- especially those that are not part of large chains -- are open past 10 pm, let alone the early morning hours when many bar patrons, club goers and other night owls are in the mood for food.
And many restaurant owners don’t want to deal with security problems related to late-night hours. Hungry and booze-soaked customers can leave staff in some sticky and unsafe situations.
A restaurant’s location is one of the key factors that determines if it makes sense to stay open late.
According to Aimee Harvey, managing editor with the restaurant consulting firm Technomic, late night hours work best for restaurants located near a college or in an area that has sustained young-adult foot traffic after typical bar closing times.
The winning combination? Late night specials that pair drinks with fried snacks at cheap prices, said Harvey. Technomic research has also shown that hamburgers and ice cream are a late-night foodie’s go-to choice on busy streets.
So it’s no surprise that gastropubs like the Greyhound Bar & Grill on Figueroa Street in Highland Park has become a neighborhood favorite amongst late-night diners. The dim-lighting, cozy booths and unassuming vibe attracts withdrawn insomniacs, friendly locals and bartenders unwinding after a shift with wings and a beer.
“Those mid-week late nights, where its mostly locals and regulars are our favorites. We’ve made some of our closest friends hanging out at the bar at 11 p.m. on a Wednesday,” said Matt Glassman, co-owner of the Greyhound.
Since Brite Spot’s hours were extended to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday and midnight the rest of the week, the Echo Park diner has seen a steady stream of late-night patrons made up of concert-goers leaving nearby venues on seeking out a hot plate of their elevated diner classics.
“It’s an idea our team loves, so we’re hoping late night continues to do well and we can grow into that,” Fruchtman said.