According to owner Sal Frio, Sal’s Comedy Hole is “an eclectic Italian restaurant and theater space. It’s kind of like Cheers – if you come in here, 90% of our customers are regulars. Everyone knows each other. Some people eat at the same table, at the same time, every week. It has a real New York City vibe,” he laughs.
And even if you’re new to Sal’s, you’ll soon be treated like a regular, too, at this friendly spot with great Italian food and four nights a week of comedy.
Sal’s Comedy Hole once had an even more New York vibe – the venue was located in New York City’s West Village. Establishing a permanent outpost in Los Angeles was designed to provide a space where the comedy community could thrive, while diners enjoyed delicious Italian food. He’s been on Melrose Ave. for almost 7 years, he says, and while the produced comedy shows vary, they always keep the crowds laughing.
“The shows we offer are a real mix. We do everything from the Los Angeles Comedy Festival to hosting Joe Rogan performing stand-up. The shows change weekly, with different performers,” Frio attests. “We do sketch, stand-up, and spoken word performances. We host a lot of screenings for independent films, too. That way filmmakers don’t have to rent out a large theater if they don’t have the budget for that or want to include dinner.” The intimate screening space draws indie showings of a wide range of films, and also hosts private screenings for filmmakers interested in showing their work to industry executives. The venue also screens sports events at times on their 14-foot HD screen.
Featuring chairs, tables, and comfortable couches, the comedy room’s atmosphere is relaxed and casual, and reasonably-priced drinks are another draw.
When it comes to the restaurant at Sal’s, Frio’s dining menu is as eclectic as his performance schedule, from hearty egg dishes and rich pastas to seafood.
“We serve breakfast all day, and we have some extremely popular breakfast items,” he says.
“Our King Benedict with smoked salmon, Maine lobster, and blue crab is a big favorite in the morning, and so is our stuffed Nutella French Toast. For lunch and dinner, meatballs are really big, and our pizza is through the roof.” Frio notes, “Every month sales go up with our pizza. Another big dish for us is our fettucine carbonara.” He makes the renowned carbonara sauce himself from scratch. “Spaghetti and meatballs is a big dish for us as well,” he adds.
The restauranteur loves his Melrose Ave. location and is delighted with the changes that have occurred on the avenue. “Seven or eight years ago, half the stores were closed, there were some sketchy characters. We used to have to keep someone standing in front so that no one would bother our customers. That’s all changed now. It’s just been a huge positive change, and I’ve been here just about every day for the last seven years and seen it. It’s fantastic.”
Also sure to be fantastic: Sal’s New Year’s Eve offering. “We’re doing a comedy show with a countdown. We’re just simply calling it our New Year’s Bash. A fun meal, comedy, and a countdown,” Sal explains, hoping both regulars and newcomers alike will enjoy a laugh-filled start to 2017.
Sal’s Comedy Hole is located at 7356 Melrose Ave.