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Lemonade squeezes onto list of area eateries

Planning Board approves cafeteria chain in spite of parking concerns.

September 24, 2013|By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com
  • Customers dine at Lemonade in Pasadena on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. A location is slated to open in Burbank and will take over part of a building located at 4400 Riverside Drive, currently occupied by beauty-supply store Cinema Secrets.
Customers dine at Lemonade in Pasadena on Thursday, Nov.… (Cheryl A. Guerrero…)

Lemonade, a popular cafeteria-style restaurant with 13 locations in Southern California, is slated to open in Burbank's media district after the Planning Board approved its proposal Tuesday despite some concerns about inadequate parking from some local residents.

The restaurant will take over part of a building located at 4400 Riverside Drive, currently occupied by beauty-supply store Cinema Secrets. 

Property owner Jeff Fischer billed the project as a way to revive the struggling existing store, which likely wouldn't have been able to afford a rent increase that would have come with continuing to occupy the whole property on its own. 

The project was approved in a 3-1 vote, with board member Christopher Rizzotti being the sole dissenter. Board member Undine Petrulis was absent.

Rizzotti said he felt the project would exacerbate traffic issues in the already-congested area because the proposal includes reducing one parking space. After the parking lot is re-striped, the two businesses will share 22 spots. 

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Danny Stein, chief financial officer of Cinema Secrets, supported the proposal despite the parking reduction.

“Unfortunately, parking hasn't been an issue for us in the last several years,” Stein said. “We wish our lot was full every day.” 

The family business, which has been operating in Burbank for 25 years, was hit hard by the recession and the Writers Guild of America strike in 2007. 

Even so, resident David Blumberg questioned whether there was a need for another restaurant when he said there are more than 50 others in a six-block radius. 

Other local residents supported the project. 

“We need more of this in our business district along Riverside — sidewalk cafes and anything that adds to a vibrant, unique destination area,” said residents Kevin and Diana Meagher in an email to the applicant.

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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