Every Friday and Saturday night when concerts at the Echo or Echoplex let out, streams of drunken rockers stagger to Echo Park’s iconic diner, the Brite Spot. There, the calorie count of any given dish (including the vegan nachos) often proves higher than the late-night patrons.
Night-life queen and designer extraordinaire Dana Hollister (One-Eyed Gypsy, Villains Tavern) has owned the Brite Spot for the last eight years and has long admired the place’s ability to sober up even the most turgid drunk, but she has long wanted to serve something better than what hipsters affectionately call “drunk food.”
On Wednesday, she made her move by opening a sleek side patio that is shielded by foliage from the onslaught of Sunset Boulevard traffic and glows amber with the light from many twinkling candles. To complement it, she is rolling out a new menu by chef and pie-master Darby Aldaco that is filled with made-from-scratch (but still tipsy-friendly) favorites, including a rich pulled-pork sandwich, the meat infused with red wine, rosemary and thyme; a delectably juicy cheeseburger; and a heaven-sent list of homemade pies, including black-bottom banana cream, peanut butter with Oreo and Key lime.
“The late-night crowd is a bit of breakfast, a bit of grease and a lot of sweets,” says Hollister, adding that the kitchen is open until 3 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. “You never know what to expect.”
With more than a dozen bars, restaurant bars and clubs along the 10-block stretch of Sunset that constitutes Echo Park’s party-centric main drag, it’s amazing that the Brite Spot is the only after-hours restaurant around. You’d think feeding the legions of whiskey zombies that flood the streets at 2 a.m. would be a cottage industry extending beyond taco trucks and the brave souls who sell danger dogs on corners.
Now, thanks to Hollister and Aldaco, the culinary plight of the inebriated has been lessened by carefully crafted options made from Rocker Bros. meats and Breadbar breads.
“It was an old-school diner before, so a lot of stuff came from boxes,” says Aldaco. “We weeded out all that stuff and by mid-October we will have rewritten 100% of the menu.”
The Brite Spot, 1918 W. Sunset Blvd., L.A. (213) 484-9800; https://www.facebook.com/thebritespot