Hillcrest dining institution to close its doorsTop Highlights, Breaking News Thursday, June 28th, 2012
Two days before its doors close for the last time, Brians’ American Eatery at 1451 Washington Street is as busy as ever. It’s business as usual as the outdoor patio and indoor dining hall, complete with its retro décor, is packed with hungry consumers enjoying their hearty meals.
The convenience of a parking lot and accessible public transportation has always made Brians’ an easy choice for a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner with friends. This eatery has been a favorite among the LGBT community for many years. A family of seven, spanning five generations, was seated without any evidence of the knowledge that Brians’ will be closing Saturday night. There are no signs up and frequent customer cards are still available for pick-up on the way out.
Brians’ has been a staple in the Hillcrest community for more than 13 years, and Facebook and Twitter have been humming with the news of the closure. “I’m gonna be SO SAD when you guys are gone. Thanks for all the good eats, good times, and good memories” commented Louiegee Faustino on Brians’ Facebook page; “What the hell, you’re closing? Where am I going to eat? What do we need to do to save the joint?” lamented Ed Brophy. Aaron, San Diego Tweeted, “Brians’ American Eatery (closing this Sat.) You’ve been an institution for many a late-night post-clubbing grubbing! You’ll be missed!”
The staff, many who have been there for years, are facing the reality that they will no longer have jobs come this weekend. Nevertheless, they were still being their usual friendly selves, greeting patrons as they walked in and checking attentively on diners as they ate. Donna Summer’s “On the radio” played in the background as customers rotated in and out. It’s one of the few places that offers breakfast all day and is open after hours, when Hillcrest bars and clubs shut their doors for the night.
According to some employees, the location already has new owners and will be opening up again in a few months. What it will be called or whether or not they will be as welcoming to the LGBT community remains to be seen. The current owner, Brian Stout, is thought to be moving to another location a few blocks away.
The closing is said to be due to a financial dispute between Stout and previous owner/partner Brian Savage. However, Stout was only able to confirm that the eatery will be closing Saturday. Due to current legalities, he was not able to speak further on the matter. The sadness in his voice was evident; and clearly he was not ready to leave Brians’ or its loyal customers.
Keep up-to-date with LGBT weekly.com as further news on Brians’ will be posted as soon as it becomes available.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly attributed the 1979 Donna Summer disco anthem, “On the Radio,” to Gloria Gaynor, another diva of the dance floor, the height of whose career was contemporaneous with that of the late Ms. Summer. Gaynor’s most famous hit was the disco-era ballad “I Will Survive.”
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