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A little bit of New Mexico in Burbank

Jackson Bell

Supply and demand drives business, so when Laurie Van Atta discovered

that Magnolia Boulevard had no coffee shops, she decided to open

Simply Coffee & Boutique.


“I just couldn’t believe that, besides Priscilla’s [Gourmet

Coffee, Tea & Gifts in Toluca Lake], there weren’t any cute coffee

houses in Burbank that people could walk to in their neighborhood,”

she said.


After owning and operating a coffee shop in Taos, N.M. for 11

years, Van Atta returned to Southern California to care for her

terminally ill father in 1992. She and her husband then moved to

Burbank from Woodland Hills and, in late March, opened Simply Coffee.

The shop serves gourmet coffee, fruit smoothies and dessert items

along with made-from-scratch soups, salads and sandwiches. Van Atta

said she is currently learning how to make traditional Chinese green

tea and will offer it in the near future.


But she said what makes the coffee shop unique is its fusion of

shabby chic, French country and New Mexican interior design styles.

Tabletops are made out of old doors, aluminum siding lines the walls,

paint is artfully spattered on the cement floor and the chairs seats

have floral designs.

More importantly, however, is the feeling of quaintness she said

she established in the 400-square-foot space.

“I wanted to create a really homey, comfortable feeling within the


store where people can get together and talk or just be left alone,”

she said.

Gary Weinberg and Melanie Smith, who work at Alpine Pictures a few

blocks away, said Simply Coffee is more than a much-needed addition

to the area.

“We work stress-filled jobs and can come here for a getaway,”

Weinberg said.

“And I love unique coffee shops, so I practically ran here when it

first opened,” Smith added.

Another attraction to the coffee shop, Van Atta said, is the

monthly display of local artists’ and photographers’ pieces. In fact,

she created its countertop mosaic.

But her future focus is to host more community activities such as

book clubs, poetry readings and even knitting lessons, especially for

the young mothers in the neighborhood.

“My whole objective is to get the community involved and create a

place the neighborhood keeps coming to,” she said.