Tag Archives: Toluca Lake

Aeirloom Bakery Serves Fantastic, Fresh Plates Daily

Aeirloom Bakery serves colorful, flavorful breakfasts and lunches seven days a week, from a cute corner spot on Riverside Drive. Fresh and tasty pastries and a wide range of coffees, teas and juices round out the large menu.

Aeirloom Bakery has been open for about four years in Toluca Lake, and there’s been some talk of the restaurant opening in the evening for dinner service. The cafe has become very popular for breakfast and brunch, particularly on the weekends.

aeirloom bakery

Aeirloom Bakery’s Waffleena, seved with chantilly cream and fresh berries. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We’ve enjoyed their French bistro approach to breakfast in particular, opting for salads tossed with light dressing on the side with our egg and sweet breads mains.

A particular favorite is Le Chocolate – french toast infused with orange zest and spices, in a light egg batter and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Fresh berries, banana and the most amazing organic chocolate hazelnut spread provides dimension.

aeirloom bakery

Le Chocolat, divine french toast, at Aeirloom Bakery.(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Other favorites include the poached Eggs Benedict special of the day and the omelets. Paired with salad or perfectly made rosemary potatoes, Aeirloom makes egg dishes light, fluffy and absolutely scrumptious.

One thing we really like about Aeirloom – the french toasts and waffles and chocolate spreads are mildly sweet, not overly sweet, or overly buttery, which is often the case at many other breakfast spots around town.

aeirloom bakery

Aeirloom Bakery’s Country Style omelet. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

There’s a large seating area inside and some tables outside but the restaurant can get pretty packed on the weekend. Bathrooms are clean. There is a small parking area in the back and street parking is fairly easy in this part of Toluca Lake. The servers are friendly, knowledgeable and attentive.

For delectable dishes, quality ingredients and a huge menu, Aeirloom Bakery receives a Tops In Town.

Restaurant Info: Aeirloom Bakery is located at 10550 Riverside Drive, Toluca Lake, CA 91602.
(818) 754-1955. Aeirloom Bakery is open Sunday through Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)

Hungry Crowd’s Creative, Fresh Plates Please All Palates

Recently open in Toluca Lake, Hungry Crowd is a stylish, relaxed restaurant serving brunch, lunch and dinner. With a fusion approach, the chef has added a twist to some dishes, while also focusing on tried and true comfort food.

The brunch menu offers some delicious choices, including the French Toast, Steak and Egg, Burrito, Yogurt Parfait and Ranch Egg. The lunch and dinner menus include small plates like Mac and Cheese, main entrees of steak, chicken and pasta, hearty salads, mouth-watering tacos and a nice selection of craft-beer and wine.

hungry crowd

Hungry Crowd’s excellent Ranch Egg (Huevos Rancheros). (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Ranch Egg is a more refined Huevos Rancheros. Moderately spicy pinto beans are placed on two just-crispy-enough corn tortillas and topped with chorizo, two sunny side up eggs, queso fresco, salsa verde and sour cream. It’s absolute perfection and not too heavy.

hungry crowd

Yogurt Parfait with fresh kitchen made strawberry yogurt and mango. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Perhaps the favorite brunch menu item is the French Toast. Topped with green tea cream and fresh fruit, the toast is eggy and perfectly crispy and airy and makes for one delicious bite.

We’ve also tried out the Kimchi Fried Rice, which is mildly spicy and made with fluffy fried rice. Not greasy at all, the cast iron dish comes out super hot and really is too much for one person.

The kimchi cabbage is moist and bits of beef are flavorful. The sunny side up egg on top adds a creaminess to the dish. It’s a lovely combination of textures and flavors.

While we haven’t had a chance to explore more of their menu, we will be back to delve into the healthy-looking salads, fragrant tacos and appealing entrees and sides.

We like that their plates aren’t huge. Prices are fair, for the obvious care and quality ingredients that go into each dish.

hungry crowd

Kimchi Fried Rice (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Hungry Crowd deserves a Tops In Town, for providing excellent food, friendly service and a really large menu. While it’s more of a lunch and dinner spot, but if you don’t feel like standing in line on a Sunday morning for brunch in Burbank, Hungry Crowd is a great alternative.

Restaurant Info: Hungry Crowd is located at 10140 Riverside Drive, Los Angeles, CA 91602. 818-853-7858. Hungry Crowd is open Tuesday through Thursday for lunch 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and dinner 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday for lunch 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and dinner 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. and Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Hungry Crowd receives: Tops In Town

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)

hungry crowd

French Toast with green tea whipped cream and fresh fruit at Hungry Crowd. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)


Sweetsalt Delights With Light, Fresh Fare

Along Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake lay a concentration of excellent and varied restaurants, many with an attention to fresh and healthy ingredients, including Sweetsalt. Open for several years now, the restaurant consistently turns out delightful meals with a creative flair.

We have mainly enjoyed breakfast and lunch at Sweetsalt over the years. The daytime menu is served from opening until 5:00 p.m., although some breakfast items are only offered until 11:00 a.m. weekdays.

Truffled Eggs Sandwich at Sweetsalt in Toluca Lake. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Truffled Eggs Sandwich at Sweetsalt in Toluca Lake. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Salads and sandwiches are the mainstay of the daytime menu. We’ve enjoyed the Fig & Bleu, the Curry Cauliflower and Strawberry Bacon salads along with the Shrimp Po’ Boy, the Steak & Brie sandwich and Avocado BLT. The Brussels Sprouts and Kale Tacos look interesting, and are on our to-try list.

With highly-customizable salads and sandwiches, we always find something to suit our craving here.

Breakfast and lunch sandwiches are served with a light mixed greens salad tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette, a tasty and refreshing complement to the main.

Sweetsalt's Micro-Greens Omelet. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Sweetsalt’s Micro-Greens Omelet. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

For the traditionalists out there, the Egg Hash is delicious and hearty concoction of eggs, potatoes, meat, cheese, onions and peppers, with a side of toast.

After 5:00 p.m., the dinner menu offers pasta, steak, chicken and fish entrees, along with sandwiches, burgers, robust salads and a variety of sides and small plates.

Egg Hash provides the meat and potatoes with eggs and cheese. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Egg Hash provides the meat and potatoes with eggs and cheese. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Sweetsalt also has fresh pastries and bakery items daily, along with delicious coffees, teas and flavored sodas.

Diners grab a menu and order at the counter and find a place to sit, inside the spacious dining area or outside at community tables. Servers bring out the food when ready.

For the best expression of the new fast casual-style restaurant, Sweetsalt rates a Tops In Town. Its amazing array of creative, colorful and healthy food is both exciting and enjoyable.

Restaurant Info: Sweetsalt is located at 10218 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake, CA 91602. 818-509-7790. Sweetsalt is open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Sweetsalt receives: Tops In Town

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)

Kabosu Increases Access To Sushi Yuzu Menu And Atmosphere

Kabosu Japanese Cuisine opened in 2015 as a sister restaurant to the popular Sushi Yuzu in Toluca Lake. Located across the street from Sushi Yuzu at the corner of Riverside Drive and Forman Street, Kabosu extends the attention to flavor and creativity of the origin restaurant’s menu to a larger audience, and adds in a few unique creations to the offerings.

We started off with appetizers of Fried Brussels Sprouts and Mushroom and Kanpachi Carpaccio.The Brussels Sprouts and Mushroom, topped with grated Parmesan cheese, was dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette soy sauce, basil pesto and chilis.

Excellent fresh Kanpachi Carpaccio. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Excellent fresh Kanpachi Carpaccio. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The gorgeous, glistening fish of the premium Yellowtail Amberjack sliced thin into a carpaccio was truly excellent on the eyes and the taste buds.

Warming up with a shared bowl of Tempura Udon, we prepared for the next three rolls. Kabosu chefs create colorful rolls of raw fish, rice, greens, vegetables and dress with a variety of sauces. Our recent favorites include the Lemon Roll, the Yuzu Roll and the Green Roll.

Udon with Vegetable Tempura. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Udon with Vegetable Tempura. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Perhaps the most exciting roll of the night was the Green Roll, made from Chilean Sea Bass tempura, avocado, soy paper and rice and topped with a green salad of arugula, green beans, edamame and asparagus. The peppery bite of arugula, the crunch of tempura and green beans and the smooth texture of avocado all combined for an exquisite taste.

Service was very good, but a little more overextended than the always impeccable service at Sushi Yuzu.

The glorious Green Roll at Kabosu. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The glorious Green Roll at Kabosu. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We ordered two desserts and enjoyed the Flourless Varlohna with Green Tea ice cream very much. However, the second dessert,  a Banana Berry Flambe, was a disappointment. That dessert took over 30 minutes to come out of the kitchen, after we had finished the Varlohna and it looked like a bowl of mush. Not very appealing, but it tasted okay.

Overall, Kabosu is a solid restaurant with attentive service and excellent food, creative plates and top quality, fresh sushi. Kabosu Japanese Cuisine receives a rating of On The Marquee.

Restaurant Info: Kabosu Japanese Cuisine is located at 10155 Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91602. 818-623-4425. Kabosu is open Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch and from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. for dinner. The restaurant is also open for lunch from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. and dinner 5:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. More info on the restaurant can be found here.

Kabosu receives: On The Marquee

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)

Forman’s Tavern Opens With Excellent Food, Chill Vibe

Since Forman’s Tavern opened in Toluca Lake about six weeks ago, the public house has settled into the neighborhood quite nicely with consistently excellent food, a comfortable vibe and decor, along with friendly, expert bartenders. A breath of fresh air for Toluca Lake and Burbank!

Serving the same, large menu at lunch and dinner, the offerings range from small plates to heartier entrees, burgers, sandwiches and salads. Forman’s serves up a nice menu of beers, IPAs and wines, along with colorful, creative cocktails.

Forman's Tavern Crispy Chicken Sandwich. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Forman’s Tavern Crispy Chicken Sandwich. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We have stopped by Forman’s Tavern several times in the past few weeks, late at night and for lunch. Every visit has been pleasant, from bar atmosphere to the quality of the food and drink.

At night, a bouncer checks i.d.s and the place is busy inside. We still were able to find a seat at the large community table in the center. The tavern is dark, punctuated with atmospheric lighting. Fortunately, the place isn’t overly loud, like many bars can be.

During the day, Forman’s does a steady business for lunch yet finding a nice table at which to sit is pretty easy. The pub is light, bright and expansive.

Forman's amazing Brussels Sprouts. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Forman’s amazing Brussels Sprouts. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

At Forman’s, we’ve had one of the best burgers we’ve tasted anywhere in the United States, the Steakhouse Burger. At $14, the diner gets their money’s worth. Ground fresh daily, the meat is perfectly cooked to order.

A medium burger melts in the mouth, with an incredible flavor. Topped with braised mushrooms, Gruyere cheese and crispy shallots and placed inside a potato bun, Forman’s Steakhouse Burger is simply perfect.

Hand cut fries are available separately, and are expertly crispy, potato-y and a little picante. Forman’s Brussels Sprouts ($7) are a thing of beauty – crispy and chewy with a hint of citrus, heat and nutty, salty cheese.

Forman's Steakhouse Burger with fresh cut fries. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Forman’s Steakhouse Burger with fresh cut fries. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Crispy Chicken Sandwich ($13) is slightly spicy and juicy. A fried chicken breast is topped with Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and a tangy sweet honey mustard dressing on a potato bun.

And then there’s Forman’s salad menu, which looks fantastic, from Kale Salad, Citrus & Beet Salad, Quinoa & Berry Salad and Farro Salad to Fried Chicken Salad, Ahi Tuna Salad and Grilled Steak Salad.

Forman's Farro Salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Forman’s Farro Salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Farro Salad ($14), made with nutty farro, house-smoked turkey, tender butternut squash, cranberries, green onions, lemon and olive oil, is tangy, slightly sweet, filling and absolutely perfect.

Another spectacular dish is the Lemon & Ale Mussels. If we had one critique, it would be to request more grilled bread to accompany the dish, with which to soak up the fragrant, lemony, sea-flavored broth. For $15, the plate is a huge stack of mussels steamed with Belgian ale, lemon and parsley. Five slices of sliced, grilled bread are served alongside.

Lemon & Ale Mussels at Forman's Tavern. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Lemon & Ale Mussels at Forman’s Tavern. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We also tried the Spicy Bacon Caramel Popcorn ($6.) The combination of flavors worked really well, although perhaps a little more bacon could have been present. The sweetness of the shared plate worked well as a dessert.

Forman’s bartenders make excellent cocktails. The Old Fashioned is served over a single huge cube of ice and garnished with a lemon twist – strong and classic. The Rosemary Paloma is tangy and fresh. Most cocktails range in price from $10-12.

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Forman’s wine and beer list is solid as well. We’ve tried several varieties on tap, including the Dog Fishhead 90 IPA, Old Chubb Nitro, Big Whig IPA and the Lagunitas Pils. Prices range from $7-9 a glass.

At Forman’s Tavern, no detail is forgotten. The bathrooms are clean and charmingly decorated. The main room is large and open, with lots of hunting lodge and country-inspired accoutrements.

Eating at Forman’s is a visceral, slightly messy experience. Be prepared for some sticky fingers!

Patrons find their own seats and order food and drinks at the bar. Runners bring the plates out from the kitchen to the tables.

Forman’s Tavern is on Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake, so be prepared to valet or park and walk.

For consistency, style and substance, Forman’s Tavern gets a resounding Tops In Town. We are thrilled to find an excellent casual place for late-night dinners and drinks, close to Burbank, with a little more sophistication than the usual suspects.

Restaurant Info: Forman’s Tavern is located at 10149 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake, CA, 91602. 818-760-6900. Forman’s Tavern is open Monday through Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

Forman’s Tavern receives: Tops In Town

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)


Live Entertainment at Lucy’s 51


It’s Thirsty Thursday! Tonight at 8:30 p.m., Ed Roth & Friends will be playing at Lucy’s 51 with no cover charge. Lucy’s 51 is a restaurant, bar and lounge and is a great spot for some local nightlife, with a jazzy vibe inside and patio seating outside. Lucy’s 51 has a full event calendar filled with live entertainment almost every night.

Lucy’s 51 Happy Hour is from 5-7 p.m. so it’s the perfect time to grab some drinks and food at a good price before the entertainment comes on. They have a full bar and some killer martinis, and I would suggest ordering the deliciously fruity “Pink Panther.”

Friday, Saturday and Sunday is also packed with entertainment at Lucy’s 51, featuring Phil Soussan, Dennis Harerra and Skin Deep.

Be sure to check out Lucy’s 51 for live entertainment and a variety of drink and food choices.

Find Lucy’s 51 on twitter at @Lucys_51. Check their twitter account for the latest information about live entertainment and their event calendar.

Toluca Lake’s Malbec Perks Up Lunchtime

By Lisa Paredes
Associate Editor

Malbec, in Toluca Lake, brings the flavors and style of Argentinian cooking to the Burbank area, with expertly-prepared steaks, fish and salads. Long a mainstay of the business lunch, making reservations or arriving on the early side is the best way to get your choice of seating on the patio or inside. On busy days, there is a back room that can hold latecomers.

Chimichurri and fresh bread. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Chimichurri and fresh bread. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

While we have been eating at Malbec for years, we’ve only ever stopped by for lunch. Malbec is open into the evening for dinner and even has a Tapas and Wine Menu, served from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily. The dinner menu is the traditional expansion of the lunch menu, providing more variety in appetizers and hearty options for steaks and fresh pastas.

Recently, we visited Malbec for a quick and early weekday lunch. We ate inside, as it was overly warm outside. The inside dining space is very live – when the room gets full, the noise level can get fairly loud. Malbec does a great job with portion size – plates aren’t overly big, but often, enough to share if family-style is your thing. Often, I get the steak salad and a glass of Malbec wine, but this most recent lunch, I was determined to spice things up and try some different plates.

Beet and pear salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Beet and pear salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Starting off the meal with a light red sangria served over plenty of ice and the homemade chimichurri sauce and soft pieces of bread was delightful. We deliberated between the always-delicious, buttery and garlicky Almejas y Mejillones Provenzal – a rustic broth of clams and mussels, and the slightly larger bowl of soup Cazuela del sur – a mixture of small shellfish and seafood in a tomato base, both served with crostini.  We ended up trying something new for us, the Cazuela del sur. While the seafood soup was tasty, it just did not reach the heights that the clams and mussels always do, so it was a bit of a let down.

Milanesa, breaded steak sandwich. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Milanesa, breaded steak sandwich. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Our main entrees arrived: the Remolachas y Peras (Beets and Pears) and the Steak Milanesa (Breaded Steak.) The substantial salad tossed together yellow and red beets, roasted pears, tomatoes, walnuts and blue cheese crumbles on a bed of arugula, dressed with a light red wine vinaigrette. The pears were roasted to a soft, yet firm texture and a delicious complement to the beets, walnuts and cheese. The Steak Milanesa has changed in composition since our last visit to Malbec, turning out even more delicious. Beef tenderloin, pounded thin, breaded and fried, is served with avocado, tomato, lettuce and mozzarella, with a creamy aioli between two pieces of extremely soft and airy bread.

Our server was extremely attentive, and plates were cleared away quickly. By the time we had finished our early lunch, the place was packed. The food was delicious; the restaurant remains one of the better choices for lunch in the area. Malbec makes it high up On The Marquee, closing in on Tops In Town, because Malbec can always be relied upon for prompt service, clean amenities and dining room and consistently delicious food. Perhaps a visit in the future for tapas and/or dinner may change that rating.

Restaurant Info: Malbec is located at 10151 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake, CA  91505. 818-762-4860. Open Monday – Tuesday 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Wednesday – Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Friday 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., Saturday 12:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. and Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Malbec receives: On The Marquee

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Roadkill)

Special Olympics Holds Torch Relay Through Burbank

Burbank Police Officers run the Special Olympic's Torch past NBC Wednesday afternood. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Burbank Police Department participated in the Special Olympics Torch Run Wednesday  afternoon as Burbankers came out and cheered on members of the Burbank Police Department as they passed through the city.

Burbank police officers on the running team accepted the torch from the Los Angeles Police Department’s North Hollywood Division team in Toluca Lake at Riverside Dr.and Clybourn Ave around 12:50 in the afternoon.

The torch was carried through the heart of Burbank (Photo By Craig Sherwood)

Special Olympic athletes, with the assistance of the officers, carried the torch up Olive Ave. with a quick stop at NBC before proceeding up to San Fernando Blvd.  After making the left, they then proceeded up to the front of the Burbank Police Station.

There was a brief presentation ceremony on the steps of the station, before the runners continued with the torch on Glenoaks Blvd. to the city limits which ended at Big Mama’s and Papa’s Pizza at Alameda and Glenoaks.  The torch was then passed to the team from the Glendale Police Department.

In addition to the Torch Run, the Burbank Police Department is also be taking part in the “Tip-A-Cop” event on June 12, at the Black Angus Restaurant, 235 S. First St.  Between 5 and 9 p.m., department personnel will be serving as waiters and entertainment to raise

Special Olympians Matthew Raymundi, Marisa Watkins, Fred Orr join Burbank Police Detective Martha Jimenez with the Special Olympic Torch. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

funds for the Special Olympics.  All of the funds raised will go to local athletes.  It helps pay for transportation, training, and equipping athletes of all ages who participate in the program for the developmentally disabled.

For additonal information about the Tri Valley Special Olympics program, contact Laura Mayo, Regional Directo, at 818-342-0017 or 661-253-2121, or visit their website at www.sosc.org.


Gotham City Takes a Detour Through Burbank

Friday if you were sitting at our famous Bob’s Big Boy, you could wonder if you were really in Burbank, California or actually in Gotham City.   Several Batmobiles drove down Riverside Dr. and pulled into the parking lot for  Friday night’s car show.

The various models of Batmobile eventually returned back to their home at Warner Bros. Studio with an escort of Burbank Police Department Traffic Officers around 7 p.m..   Patrons sitting at Priscilla’s coffee did a double take as the cars rolled by.

Back at Bob’s, hundreds came out for the evening’s car show,  enjoying Southern California weather and a look at some of the classic cars and hot rods on display.


Batmobiles make their return home to Warner Bros. via Burbank Streets. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Customers Prepare For Last Supper at Marie Callender’s

Turkey Pot Pie? Potato Cheese Soup? Slice of Razzelberry pie? Which famous dish was I going to choose to be my last meal at Marie Callender’s? Last meal you ask? Well, after four decades of being a Burbank/Toluca Lake landmark, the famous establishment will be closing their doors forever on January 2, 2012. In its place will soon be another branch of Chase Bank. That will make the second Chase Bank location just a few blocks from the other, on Riverside Drive.

As I sat at the counter and ordered the potato cheese soup, I watched for expressions of the soon-to-be unemployed staff members as they scurried around the packed-house restaurant. There wasn’t anything different in the air… The beautiful lighting, solid oak tables and chairs, the unique high-back booths, large fans, charming knick knacks and the hard-working staff, were all the same. Except for the knowledge I had learned the night before, Marie Callendar’s would soon be a distant memory.

It was my first place of employment right out of high school. I was their first sandwich delivery girl ever hired. It was so exciting delivering food to Warner Bros, Disney Studios, Dick Clark Productions, many other post-production houses and to the set of my favorite soap opera, Santa Barbara on the NBC lot.

I even sold Tommy Chong a sandwich or two. Back at the counter, our customers and staff were always entertained by Jonathan Winters. Waiting on him was the highlight of any waitress’ day. He never failed to make us laugh with his kind, jovial spirit and famous smile. Needless to say, he was always the charming, famous, adorable funny man you would see on TV. Even as a teenager, I knew I was talking to a legend.

Not only is Marie Callendar’s known for their amazing pies, but for their burgers, chicken pot pies, and not to mention their famous potato cheese soup, which I savored as I struck up conversations with the staff members. Waitress, Adelina Adamyan stated, “I have been working here 7 years and this is so sad for me. It’s like a second home. I have spent every holiday here. They’re [staff] my family.” One could not help but feel horrible for her situation, being so close to Christmas. She added, “We didn’t even know this place had been sold until we saw it online a few days ago”. The owners failed to inform their faithful employees that the doors would be closing permanently. Other sources have reported that the land was sold to Chase Bank for 4 million dollars this past year.

Katie Pessagno, another 7-year veteran said sadly, “We’re going through the grieving process now. You should have seen us yesterday during our denial stage. We only found out on Monday that they’re shutting down. A friend called me to tell me bad news”. After talking to a few more employees, I learned that even General Manager, Goyo De La Cruz had no idea that he would be unemployed right after the holidays. Ismael “Izzy” Sanchez has been working at MC since the day they opened, over 40 years ago. What happens to these people? Katie also admitted, “We had our annual Christmas party last night, but I was too depressed to go. I just stayed home”.

Busboy, Miguel Martinez, who has been gainfully employed at the restaurant for the past 5 years, quietly said, “I am very sad”. I then inquired if he was sending out resumes, he nodded, put his head down and then went back to work. I know I was not helping the raw emotions of the MC crew by asking questions, but I knew in my heart that I had to share their sadness with the community. I too, was in the grieving process. My family and friends have been coming here my entire life. My family took me to dinner to celebrate my high school graduation. That night was very memorable. The entire place was packed with fellow John Burroughs alumni and their families.

It is hard to reconcile that another landmark has fallen…

Night manager, Leanne Lawson informed me that the recent filing of Chapter 11 (bankruptcy) only affected the corporate level of Marie Callendar’s. The franchises were thriving and the employees were under the impression that they were safe from the national job loss catastrophe. “How many more banks do we need on this street, seriously?” protested, Leanne.

As I was tying up my interviews and paying my bill, MC regular of 20 years and local resident, Doug Menick sat at the counter to order his usual bowl of soup. That’s when Katie told him the bad news. The look of shock and disappointment flooded his face as he sat down. He shook his head in disbelief and said, “I feel so sorry for the workers. This is more than disappointing.” I wanted to give him my condolences, but I too was feeling the wave of sadness for my own memories.

As I was leaving, I met child TV star, Wayne Stam from the hit TV show, “My Favorite Martian” and Australian graphic novel artist, Peter Greenwood. They were viewing the first copies of a new book that’s coming out called, “My Favorite Martian. The Complete Series Volume One.” It was a bittersweet moment for them because they were celebrating the new book when I shared the grim news. Peter shook his head and said, “It’s pathetic. We don’t need another bloody bank.” Wayne added, “many business have started over coffee at this place. I formed my theatre company at Marie Callender’s many years ago”.

I took a few photos of the restaurant and didn’t ask the staff to smile, because it was not a celebration. They were more than kind to me and for that, I am thankful.

What would restaurant founder, Marie Callender, think about the swift, impersonal and untimely business decision? One would think that a fair and decent business owner would have handled this tough decision with a little more empathy and class. Seems cruel and unfair to treat such faithful workers in such a harsh manner.

I guess Ebenezer Scrooge is alive and well in the Toluca Lake area.