Downtown Burbank: Johnny Can’t Pick on You Anymore

(Hello friends, I’m sure you’re aware Southern California covers a vast and diverse area. I can’t be anywhere.  Today, I welcome guest blogger Denise Talas from Burbank, Calif. as she gives a tour of a shopping district in her backyard.  Enjoy!–David)

I have visited several places in the San Fernando Valley. Downtown Burbank is the most interested and diverse, in my opinion.


Located between Verdugo and Burbank Streets, you can find a mall district, a civic district, a village district and the AMC Walkway.   Parking is plentiful, so you don’t have to worry where to park your car. Parking at the structures is free for two hours—enough time to spend in this area.  When I go shopping here, I park at San Fernando and Magnolia adjacent to the mall district.


Sears, Macy’s, Victoria Secret and Forever 21 are some of the more popular stores that you find in the mall. During the weekends there are a lots of activities for Children which include a little train and a play  area for kids.


I have to talk about the food area located in the third floor, where you can find several restaurants for children and adults. There’s a variety of menus, from vegetarian to fast food, that allow you to have more choices. You never know if you decide to stay extra hours.


Ikea is another option for those who need to buy some home furniture. This store has also a nice a cheap restaurant, which offers salads, meat, and pastas with a variety for children who can also eat for free every Tuesday (under 12 years old).


In the Village district in addition to the AMC Walkway, you can find several coffee shops and restaurants. One of my personal favorites is Octopus where you can find a variety of sushi (cheaper for eat there than take away), Fuddrucker’s (nice hamburguers and all you can eat salads) and a nice coffee shop, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf ( I recommend the biscotti because it  is good and cheap).


If you like to go to the movies and watch one of the Oscar-winning features, the AMC Cinemas are nice and comfortable. Big rooms and lots of seats but I recommend patrons arrive 15 to 20 minutes before the film begins, to have get a nice seat.

(Thank you, Denise. It’s obvious to this mall rat that Downtown Burbank can no longer be the butt of Johnny Carson’s jokes. It’s good to see that Burbank has come a long way. Sounds like a road trip is in order.–David)Image

Photo by Denise Talas


Ready for the Coming Tsunami?

Any one paying attention to retail news recently knows that Staples and Radio Shack are slimming down.  Staples by about 250 stores and Radio Shack by over 1100 stores(!).  Yes, unfortunately, a Super Bowl commercial going viral wasn’t enough to save the Shack.  Retail experts believe we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.  

Only recently did JCPenney close some underperforming locations as did Macy’s.  JCP still hasn’t fully regained his footprint after the disaster that was the Ron Johnson era (or was that error?).  

Only time will tell who will survive this predicted disaster, if it happens at all.  Did retailers overextend themselves by opening too much too soon?  Or are the doomsday scenarios from 15 years ago finally panning out?

We shall see…….to be continued……

Westwood Village is Showing a Pulse

If there’s a date that will forever haunt the westside of Los Angeles it is January 30, 1988. Karen Toshima, 27, was hit with a bullet while on the streets of Westwood. It shattered the notion that gang violence was isolated to South Central Los Angeles.  It affected Westwood Village for years. Many attempts at revitalizing the village failed.  

As I researched this post, I found an article that as recently as last year Westwood attempted to follow Downtown LA’s lead and reposition itself as an arts destination. As I look around the area, I think that idea hasn’t stuck.

Along comes retailer Urban Outfitters. The Philadelphia-based retailer is renovating a former Tower Records building on 1038 Westwood Blvd into a new flagship storefront. It will be double the size of its current operations down the street at 1500 Westwood Blvd. Advocates are hopeful that the retailer’s commitment to the area sparks activity that Westwood hasn’t seen in a long time.

Their wishes maybe slowly coming true.  While construction is underway for the new Urban Outfitters property, vacant storefronts now have “coming soon” signs attached to their windows. Ralph’s opened at a shuttered Bullock’s property. Target opened a location nearby. Newly opened restaurants have lines snaking outside their doors on busy lunch hours. A new development is being erected on the corner of Gayley and Lindbrook Ave.  I’m curious as to what the finished construction will bring.

While Westwood Village may never regain what was lost that fateful January 1988 night, I am certain that the area is getting its groove back. Other areas (Santa Monica 3rd St. Promenade, The Grove at Farmer’s Market, and Culver City) may have replaced Westwood as a nightlife destination.  However, Westwood is slowly making its comeback and will soon be a player in competing for Angeleno’s hard earned spending cash.