Breakfast is undeniably good business, and as chefs and restaurateurs have caught on, so too has the all-day restaurant. Unlike the familiar all-day diner, which itself has seen something of a revival in recent years, and its close cousin, the newly trendy luncheonette, today’s casual, multi-hyphenate spaces offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a range of cuisines. They’re often helmed by chefs from the world of high-end dinner service. And they are cropping up in America’s major cities — especially New York and Los Angeles.
As formal fine dining takes a backseat to more casual fare, the all-day destination makes sense. Continuous dining lets restaurateurs tap into the same mores that are driving diners into fast-casual restaurants, without having to give up on the idea of a comfortable, full-service experience. And with an all-day restaurant, operators can maximize profits while serving casual, and often less pricey, food. “There’s this mentality as a business owner that every day that we have the ability to be open and every hour is a blessing, so we want to take advantage of everything we can do,” notes Dan Salls, chef at Chicago all-day Mexican restaurant Quiote.
It has become clear to many in the industry that diner preferences are changing. “In order to stay relevant and keep guests coming back, you have to be able to provide a diverse range of experiences,” says Camille Becerra, chef at New York’s a.m.-to-p.m. restaurant De Maria. Fewer people are required to spend their days inside an office, and for many, restaurants and cafes are meeting and work spaces as well. What’s more, the all-day format gives restaurants the opportunity to become fixtures in their communities at all times. Becerra asks, “Why can’t your go-to spot accommodate you for breakfast, dinner, and drinks?”
There’s no end in sight for the rise in all-day dining projects from fine-dining chefs and industry vets. The Alinea Group, titans of the Chicago fine dining scene, teased potential plans for an all-day restaurant in a space they bought last year. During a recent Reddit AMA, partner Nick Kokonas wrote, “For a long time we’ve wanted to do a venue that combines a few great experiences in one place — primarily food and music. That’s our intention in that location... and serving breakfast, too.”
Sqirl visionary Jessica Koslow’s next Los Angeles project will be an all-day Israeli restaurant, called Tel. NYC’s Perla is closing, and will re-emerge as the day-to-night Fairfax. A new restaurant from the Littleneck crew in New York will soon add dinner to existing breakfast and lunch service, as will Bay Area chef Preeti Mistry’s Navi Kitchen in Emeryville, California, completing these restaurants’ transformations to round-the-clock destinations. Chef Jason Vincent’s follow up to essential Chicago restaurant Giant, City Mouse, launches with brunch first, but will necessarily be an all-day restaurant given its location at Chicago’s Ace Hotel.
Below, how some of this year’s new all-day restaurants are splitting their focus across all three meals of the day:
Location: Los Angeles
Opened: January 2017
Key Players: Sara Kramer, Sarah Hymanson
The 45-seat Kismet opened with a Middle Eastern-meets-California menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with the goal of becoming a fixture in its Los Feliz neighborhood, says Sara Kramer, the co-chef and co-owner. “I love a place that you can always depend on, that you can stop in any time of day and know that you’re getting a quality experience and product,” she says. “The slower moments when restaurants might normally be closed really allow us to foster a more community-oriented, slower-paced vibe with our customers.” | Website
Opened: January 2017
Key Players: Art Mendoza, Tyler Mendoza
Slightly Toasted’s all-day concept stemmed from a desire to sell drinks — first whiskey, and then coffee. Tyler Mendoza, who opened Slightly Toasted along with his father, Art, says that after years of opening fine-dining restaurants with their Barrel Aged Hospitality group, the duo wanted to pivot to “bars that serve food, versus the other way around.” Mendoza envisioned Slightly Toasted as a place Chicagoans could visit to work or socialize at any time of day, citing a shift towards remote working in Chicago’s cafe culture.
According to Mendoza, “coffee and liquor are probably the two most profitable things you can do in this industry.” The food menu, which features a selection of sweet and savory toasts and sandwiches, was also designed for maximum efficiency, making the most out of just a “super-fancy Quiznos oven and prep space.” Come nighttime, “all we have to do with our sandwich focus at dinner is add a second slice of bread,” he says. | Website
Opened: February 2017
Key Players: Dan Salls
Quiote chef Dan Salls got his start with lunch. Before Quiote, Salls had the first cook-on-board food truck in Chicago, the Salsa Truck, and opened a lunch counter, the Garage. When he found the space for Quiote, though, he felt it warranted more than just lunch service. “We’re on a very high-traffic street. We have access to incredible coffee and lots of great resources in Chicago, so opening up the cafe and going into all day seemed like a no brainer,” he says. The Logan Square restaurant now comprises a basement mezcal bar, a street-food-inspired lunch, and a dinner service with composed modern Mexican plates. | Website
Location: New York City
Opened: February 2017
Key Players: Camille Becerra
De Maria is the Instagram-ready restaurant from chef Camille Becerra (Navy). The Nolita cafe serves bowls and plates with international influences at lunch, and shareable crudos, croquettes, and larger mains at dinner — plus, breakfast until 4 p.m. and colorful cocktails throughout the day. The menu was informed by the interior design, which allows for a variety of experiences: there’s a bar, cocktail tables, outdoor seating, and a separate dining room.
A shift towards remote working culture has helped make De Maria a hub for the community, who make use of the the restaurant’s free Wi-Fi. “I like to think of the restaurant as a third space, apart from the home or the office,” Becerra says, “where people can come together for as much or as little time as they please.” | Website
Location: New York City
Opened: February, dinner launched May 2017
Key Players: Danny Meyer, Carmen Quagliata, Daniel Alvarez, Justin Rosengarten, Sam Lipp
The eagerly awaited casual arm of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe, Daily Provisions launched with breakfast and lunch in February. Adding dinner was always part of the plan, and in May, the tiny cafe extended its hours to 9 p.m. In its early days of evening service, transition between lunch and dinner wasn’t completely seamless, says director of operations Sam Lipp. “We’re continuing to try to work on ways to make sure people know about all the great stuff we have an offer without making it feel like we’re hitting you over the head with signage everywhere,” he says.
But, ultimately, Lipp thinks casual counter service is where dining is headed. “To be able to get food that is prepared with as much thought and as much care for the ingredients and the techniques as a fine dining, full-service restaurant at a lesser cost and in much less time — you’ve really got a formula there that’s built for the modern human.” | Website
City: New York City
Opened: March 2017
Key Players: Enrique Olvera, Daniela Sotto-Innes
Enrique Olvera followed up his high-end New York City Mexican restaurant Cosme with the more casual neighborhood restaurant Atla, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. “We don’t want you to plan your visit to Atla or consider us a restaurant for special occasions, that’s why we decided to go all day,” says Olvera, who has been in the all-day game for the past nine years with his mini-chain of cafes in Mexico City, called Eno Loncherías.
At Atla, Olvera and his right hand in New York chef Daniela Soto-Innes offer “one of the city’s most beautiful breakfasts,” according to Eater NY’s restaurant critic Ryan Sutton. The casual day-to-night flow means that Olvera gets the chance to focus on straightforward, unfussy dishes. “We are all getting a little bit tired of formalities,” he says of the chef-led, all-day openings that are popping up more and more in the States. “I really like this format of more casual and comforting food, with less guidelines and rules,” he says. | Website
Lunetta All Day
Location: Los Angeles
Opened: March 2017
Key Players: Raphael Lunetta
The “modern neighborhood diner,” as the Lunetta All Day website puts it, is a departure for its chef, who helmed fine-dining restaurant JiRaffe for 18 years before closing that Santa Monica landmark in 2015. Here Raphael Lunetta offers pastries and coffee at breakfast alongside an “AM” menu, and in the evening, guests can select from a “PM” menu and a full bar. According to Eater LA, Lunetta All Day was the precursor to a more formal sit-down dinner restaurant, Lunetta, now open next door. | Website
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Opened: April 2017
Key Players: Alexandra Siwiec
The decision to turn the Williamsburg bar Nights and Weekends into all-day restaurant One Bedford was a practical one. After a partnership change, owner Alexandra Siwiec decided to revamp the space in North Brooklyn to adjust to the restaurant’s changing surroundings: More office buildings have opened up along nearby Manhattan Avenue, bringing with them people needing daytime meals. “I see many more people coming in from the morning, for lunch, and then going in for dinner, whereas before it was strictly customers coming in for dinner,” Siwiec says.
The neighborhood also shaped the new menu: Siwiec tapped into Williamsburg's status as a brunch destination. “I basically mixed the brunch menu in with a little bit of the dinner menu and made it an all-day menu, and so far, so good,” she says. | Website
Opened: April 2017, dinner launched May 2017
Key Players: Brendan McGill
Seattle chef Brendan McGill says he was one of the first in his city to consider the possibilities of all-day dining. When the chef of Hitchcock Restaurant, a fine-dining restaurant on Bainbridge Island, and Hitchcock Deli, a deli and cafe with locations on Bainbridge Island and in Georgetown, was presented with the opportunity to open up another Hitchcock Deli in downtown Seattle, he wanted to include evening service in addition to the daytime deli fare.
To make it work in Seattle, McGill decided to call the new restaurant Café Hitchcock, heeding Yelp reviewers who were surprised — given the Hitchcock Deli moniker — that they could get more than sandwiches and meat by the pound for lunch.
Although Café Hitchcock serves some of McGill’s popular smoked meats, he opted not to have a deli case in the cafe. Instead, he put in an open kitchen with a counter that doubles as a place to order during the day and a service station when the restaurant switches to evening table service at 3 p.m. The white space is equipped with plenty of dimmable light fixtures for an overall effect that is softer than the original, and the menu’s vegetable dishes and more composed small plates have been a hit in the all-day format. “You get a better mix of customers when it’s not all about a half pound of meat between two slices of bread,” McGill says. | Website
Location: San Francisco
Opened: May 2017
Key Players: Daniel Patterson, Matt Brimer
Daniel Patterson opened a second location of casual-but-sophisticated restaurant Alta CA in the Minnesota Street Project, which offers affordable and sustainable art space, with the idea that it would fit in seamlessly in the historic Dogpatch neighborhood. And although the first Alta on Market Street is only open for dinner, being open all day was a natural fit for the community-focused second location. “It gives more opportunity to connect with people in different ways,” he says, and more opportunities to do business.
The goal is for the “casual fine-dining” restaurant to become a place for people to frequent at all hours, as it cycles through coffee and pastries for breakfast, soup, salads, and sandwiches for lunch, and various small plates for dinner, plus sparkling wine cocktails on tap. So far, Alta seems to be fitting into the Mission Street Project community, and with the all-day format, the airy, 45-seat dining room gets busier as it transitions through the three meal services. “You have to create the right culture for it first, and it fits really well.” Patterson says. “The first interest has to be connecting with people.” | Website
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Opened: June 2017
Key Players: Sam Buffa, Jean Adamson
The team behind cozy Brooklyn restaurant Vinegar Hill House have opened an all-day cafe offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Dumbo. Pastries, tartines, and hot dogs round out the daytime food offerings, and for dinner, founders Sam Buffa and Jean Adamson have devised a menu that includes shareable proteins by the pound. Everything is available to order at the counter before consuming out on the restaurant’s terrace.
The inspiration for an all-day follow-up to Vinegar Hill House was twofold. “We’ve always been huge fans of coffee culture, but it’s never fit into what we’ve done,” Buffa says. At VHH Foods the coffee program from Blue Bottle’s Grace Lowman and Sam Anderson, who heads the beverage program at Mission Chinese, takes a mixologist’s approach. “The idea is to bring in restaurant quality and restaurant service into an all-day dining experience,” Buffa says. “We don’t want to be considered fast casual. It’s a little bit more elevated and playful.”
And, like many of the other chefs and restaurateurs on this list, economics also factor into the appeal of a restaurant that’s open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. “I think it’s tough as a business owner and as chefs to open a restaurant that relies on one service a day, like at Vinegar Hill House,” Buffa says. “Having [a restaurant] that stretches out the day gives the opportunity to engage more.” | Website
Walnut Street Café
Opened: June 2017
Key Players: Branden McRill, Daniel Eddy, and Patrick Cappiello
The team behind New York’s Rebelle just opened an all-day restaurant in the FMC Tower, which bills itself as Philadelphia’s first “vertical neighborhood.” Walnut Street Café, their first project outside of New York, is meant “to be as many things to as many people as it possibly can,” Patrick Cappiello, co-owner and head of the 120-bottle wine program, told Philly.com. The 90-seat restaurant opens at 8 a.m. with breakfast and a dedicated pastry counter, before transitioning to lunch and dinner service, finally becoming a cocktail bar, complete with frozen margarita machine, in the evenings. | Website
Miller’s All Day
Projected Opening: Summer 2017
Key Players: Nathan Thurston, Greg Johnsman
Charleston chef Nathan Thurston is opening up an all-day restaurant with Greg Johnsman, a local miller and farmer. When it opens this summer, Miller’s All Day will launch with breakfast and lunch, eventually adding dinner. The menu will favor brunch items and traditional southern food, Eater Charleston reports, and will no doubt make good use of produce and grains from Johnsman’s farm.
Alta at The Grant, Yotel
City: San Francisco
Projected Opening: Fall 2017
Key Players: Daniel Patterson
Daniel Patterson’s next Alta will follow in the all-day footsteps of the Mission Street Project location when it opens in Yotel’s first West Coast hotel in San Francisco’s historic Grant building.
To-Be-Named Headhouse Square Restaurant
Projected Opening: Late 2017
Key Players: Zach Morris, Kelsey Bush
An all-day restaurant from the people behind Haverford-based Green Engine Coffee Co. is coming to historic Headhouse Square, Eater Philly reports. The 2,800-square-foot restaurant will serve Philly-favorite Rival Bros. Coffee along with a full menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a full bar.
Location: Los Angeles
Projected Opening: Early 2018
Key Players: Jessica Koslow
Jessica Koslow’s 8,000-square-foot, all-day restaurant Tel (as in Tel Aviv) has been a long time coming. As Eater LA reported when the project was announced last year, the ambitious restaurant will include grab-and-go breakfast, counter-service lunch, and a full-service dinner in a 125-seat dining room with its own entrance, plus a separate private dining and event space.