When Argentina has a match at the World Cup, Rene Vildoza, owner of El Morfi on Brand Boulevard, arrives at 3:30 a.m. to get his restaurant ready. On Sunday, he hosted dozens of devotees who came to watch Argentina's Albiceleste top Mexico 3-1 to advance into the quarterfinals.
Most of El Morfi's early-morning visitors are Argentina natives, Vildoza said.
"The funny thing is, you can watch it at home," he said. "But these people, they come here."
Some local restaurateurs have taken advantage of World Cup fever to market their spots to crowd-seeking fans.
On game days, El Morfi provides coffee, empanadas and Argentinean tostaditas — crust-less, grilled ham-and-cheese sandwiches — for the 30 or so fans who've arrived for the pre-dawn matches, which take place nine time zones away in South Africa.
At the Korean eatery Hello Pizza in La Cañada Flintridge, owner Brandon Tak has kept similar hours this month on the days South Korea plays. That schedule ended Saturday when Uruguay dropped the South Koreans 2-1.