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,”
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,”
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,”
“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.