If you’re looking for a snack in the middle of the night, your best option is likely to be a Dunkin’ Donuts. Almost 65 percent of the restaurants open for 24 hours belong to the coffee, pastry and sandwich chain.
Your other options are McDonald’s, with 35 round-the-clock spots, or the 28 all-hours diners across the state.
An analysis of data from Factual.com showed that there are about 230 restaurants open through the early morning hours to serve travelers, students cramming for finals, third-shifters or night owls.
We used Factual’s dataset because their public API includes business hours, unlike Yelp or the State of Connecticut. That makes sense because hours aren’t fixed and can change at any moment, depending on things like whether workers are available or if there’s enough customer traffic to sustain staffing. It’s very tough to track for an aggregator.
Yelp depends on users or businesses to update their business-hour listings. Businesses like Factual have developed over the past few years to attempt to get the most up-to-date and specific information on businesses to fuel online search engines and apps with geolocated ads. When people look up a restaurant or store on their map app, they want to know right away if the place is open. On its website, Factual states that it uses a “machine-learning algorithm” to scrape listings, as well as business partners and contributors to add to their database.
Before the analysis, TrendCT cleaned out more than 50 incorrect listings in the data set by calling businesses or checking their websites to verify that they did operate 24 hours a day.
|Town||24 hour restaurants|
Some restaurants listed were no longer in business, and some, like Star Diner in New Haven, had changed their 24-hour schedule to more traditional hours. A few dozen were listed that had never been open 24 hours.
“We couldn’t sustain those hours. After 9 or 10, business drops,” said Glenn Proto, owner of New Haven Apizza & Bakery. “People keep asking us if we’re open all night— and we’re not.”
Some observations from the data:
- Norwalk has the most 24-hour restaurants but only the second-most 24-hour Dunkin’ Donuts.
- New Haven has the most 24-hour Dunkin’ Donuts, with eight.
- The four Baskin Robbins share store space with Dunkin’ Donuts.
- Stamford, Danbury, Groton and Milford have the most diners with two each.
- There are about 500 Dunkin’ Donuts in Connecticut, so that means about 30 percent of them are open 24 hours.
Proto’s restaurant shows up twice in the data set but with two different addresses. One address is correct but the other belongs to a regular customer who asks them occasionally how his home became a pizzeria, said Proto.
For Proto, it’s just another site that happens to be incorrectly listing his hours, like Facebook. He called his attempt to update its business page “a disaster.”
“I hate social media; it’s nothing but a headache as far as I can tell,” said Proto. Not that it matters, he said. “All my steady customers are local so they just know and don’t even look at that stuff.”
There’s also the old-fashioned way of looking up a place’s hours: Call them up and ask.