News Column

New downtown restaurants make push to city for later closing times

August 29, 2014

By Alejandra Molina, The Orange County Register

Aug. 29--New restaurants in downtown Santa Ana are seeking to stay open later in an area of the city that some have labeled as a hip and thriving district.

Evan White of West Fourth Hospitality LLC is planning to operate Spurgeon Social within the historic Spurgeon Building at the southwest corner of Sycamore and Fourth streets.

Setting up shop in "one of the most architecturally prominent and tallest buildings in downtown," Spurgeon Social "proposes a specialized dining experience that will feature seasonal, locally sourced ingredients," according to a city staff report.

On Aug. 11, the Santa Ana Planning Commission approved conditional use permits for the restaurant to serve wine, beer and mixed drinks. The restaurant would also stay open until 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The restaurant will close at 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday.

"This is just another amenity in addition to the historic buildings we have downtown, the culture, the arts, the whole vibe of downtown," Commissioner Phil Bacerra said. "It adds another dimension to downtown Santa Ana.

"We feel that downtown is a great environment for patrons to enjoy late-night dining."

One nearby resident, Yvonne Flores, who lives in the Santa Ana Lofts, submitted a letter to the city in opposition to the 4 a.m. closing time.

"We as residents endure the sounds, trash and overall effects of the patrons of the local businesses even after the 2 a.m. closing," Flores said.

She added: "We knew this would occur when we decided to buy and live in DTSA, but we never thought this would occur through 4 a.m. or 4:30 a.m. What city would allow a bar/restaurant/establishment to operate through 4 a.m.? It's kind of crazy, especially with homes less than 100 yards away."

Across the city, though, other establishments like Denny's stay open 24 hours. But, as Bacerra phrased it, this situation is unique given that downtown Santa Ana is a destination area.

"What this is doing is, it's providing a safety benefit ... opportunities for people to sober up before getting in their vehicles," he said.

Pending council approval, Spurgeon Social will join Wursthaus' late-operating hours, which were endorsed by the City Council in February.

Wursthaus plans to open at 305 E. Fourth St., near the Frida Cinema. Gabriel Ruiz and George Mendoza plan to serve gourmet sausages, side dishes, wine and craft beers at the German-themed eatery.

The 2,000-square-foot space will seat 85 and operate from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday to Thursday and until 4 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Last Call on Broadway is another new restaurant that plans to open within the historic Empire Market Building -- which was constructed in the art deco style in 1933 -- at the northwest corner of Broadway and Second Street, just north of C4 Deli.

It will be an independently owned restaurant specializing in small plate cuisine, salads and hot sandwiches. Conditional use permits were also approved to sell beer and wine.

Hours of operation will be from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week.

The City Council on Sept. 2 will vote whether to approve the conditional use permits for Last Call on Broadway and the Spurgeon Social.

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Source: Orange County Register (CA)

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