However, during all of these changes, one detail remains the same: a guest can order a full-course meal whether its midnight or mid-afternoon. “What we’re kind of harkening back to is how it used to be, in the middle of the 20th century,” Brown says. “Back then, you could have a good dinner in a more lively environment, with some entertainment and music involved.”
Austin is an evolving city, Brown says. The demographic looking to eat after dark has expanded significantly, and there’s a booming audience for what Sophia’s has to offer.
“It’s growing, with people moving in from around the world, certainly, and from larger markets such as New York, LA, and Chicago,” he says. “We felt that there was an opportunity to do something a little bit different.”
Not everybody has been receptive to the idea. Brown notes, especially early on, that offering a 10:30 p.m. slot to perspective guests left some feeling like “we were insulting their child by saying such a thing.”
The Sophia’s team figured there would be a barrier early on, where Austin diners had to learn about the new restaurant, and vice versa. But at the end of the day, Brown understands it will appeal to some and drive away others, which he doesn’t mind. Having a focused, engaged base is sometimes better than having a large and unappreciative one.
“It’s been a process. While we certainly hope that everyone enjoys what we do, we certainly understand that it might not be for everyone,” he says, adding that the amount of people calling for late-night reservations has increased exponentially.