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A very tasteful evening

Downtown Burbank event brings out droves of food and drink makers and residents who are eager to sample the fare.

September 29, 2007|By Jeremy Oberstein

As Joey Gonzalez handed out cookies and hamburgers, he marveled at the long lines on San Fernando Boulevard.

“I just love Burbank” the Fuddruckers general manager said. “And I love this festival. It seems to get bigger every year.”

While dozens crowded around the Fuddruckers booth, thousands crammed Downtown on Thursday night for the fourth annual Taste of Downtown Burbank.

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The festival offered residents the opportunity to sample food from more than 30 restaurants, sip drinks and even find a place to live.

Steve Howard, sales manager for The Burbank Collection, sat behind a table flanked by television screens showcasing his companies’ condominiums for sale.

Howard relished the opportunity to operate a booth in the midst of restaurants and cafes showcasing their delicacies.

“I am proud to be one of the only non-restaurant booths here,” he said. “This is the best form of advertising we could possibly do.”

As he spoke, three festival-goers wolfed down pumpkin ravioli from Market City Cafe and guzzled cherry lemonade from Hot Dog on a Stick.

Down the street, Crystal Leonard was busy slicing pizzas and serving the hordes of hungry people at her NYPD Pizza.

“Look at this place, it’s awesome,” she exclaimed.

By night’s end, Leonard served about 1,400 slices.

Across the street, Gonzalez was busy handing out one of the 900 hamburgers his restaurant prepared and a couple of the 500 cookies.

“We made 700 hamburgers last year and ran out,” he said.

While food was the main attraction, some came to the festival to satisfy a more energetic appetite.

“I’m just here for the dancing and wonderful music,” said Deborah Jerd of Burbank, slightly heaving from the fox trot she just finished with her dancing partner, Richard Cardona.

The two were part of a group of dancers who travel to different locations, mostly malls, in the San Fernando Valley, in search of live music.

“I love the feeling I get from dancing,” said Cardona, of North Hollywood.

Not everyone was initially excited about the fair, though.

“It draws people away from the store,” said Caroline Lufkin, a clerk at O’ My Sole. “Usually, we will get about 20 people at night, and tonight, since 4, we’ve had maybe a dozen.”

As Lufkin spoke, Lisa Gal walked in, exhausted from the hours of festival walking.

“I just came in here to buy a pair of comfortable shows,” the owner of Hollywood Gift Baskets said. “I loved all the food, but my feet were so tired.”

“Well, maybe it’s worth it,” Lufkin said.


 JEREMY OBERSTEIN covers City Hall and public safety. He may be reached at (818) 637-3242 or by e-mail at jeremy.oberstein@latimes.com.

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