BURBANK — More than 30 restaurants and cafes will open their doors Thursday as the Taste of Downtown Burbank gets under way on San Fernando Boulevard.
The annual festival benefits the Burbank Community YMCA and its financial scholarship program, which supports about 900 families, Marketing Director Susan Sebastian said.
“All the money we raise will go toward the financial scholarship program,” she said. “It will allow people in the community who may not otherwise be able to join the [YMCA]. We can fulfill our mission to enrich the lives of everyone.”
The Taste of Downtown Burbank, which is produced in conjunction with the Downtown Burbank Partnership, is the YMCA’s biggest fundraiser of the year, she said.
“The last two years, we’ve raised over $100,000,” Sebastian said.
Sebastian expects 1,200 to 1,500 people to attend the event, which is in its fourth year.
“It’s a wonderful collaboration between the YMCA and Burbank,” she said. “I hope it’s the biggest one yet.”
Market City Cafe, which has participated each year, will entice passers-by with cut link sausages in pomodoro sauce, fried calamari and wine.
“This is a great event,” General Manager Stacy Lomprey said. “We have a great relationship with the people of Burbank.”
Dinner entrees are just one part of the festival. Down the road, Porto’s Bakery aims to satisfy people’s sweet tooth.
“We’ll be serving creme brulee, strawberries and chocolate and other great things,” Porto’s pastry chef and co-owner Tony Salazar said. “This is our first year participating, so we’re really excited to get out there and meet the community.”
In addition, Fuddruckers, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and a host of other cafes and restaurants that line San Fernando, from Magnolia Boulevard to Orange Grove Avenue, will offer patrons the opportunity to sample selected menu items.
Eateries aren’t the only establishments looking forward to the event.
Gary Olson, executive director of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, notes the high turnout of past years that have continually made this event a success.
“Last year, we had over 1,000 people,” he said. “I think it is the premier event of the year for Downtown. The exposure for restaurants is great. The turnout is great, and it’s a worthy cause. For everyone, it’s a win-win.”
Ben & Jerry’s
BJ’s Restaurant Brewery
Burbank Bar & Grille
California Pizza Kitchen
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Gordon Biersch Brewery
Hot Dog on a Stick
Islands Fine Burgers
Juice It Up
Market City Caffe
Picanha Brazilian Grill
Pomodoro Cucina Italiana
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Romancing the Bean
Seoul Korean Barbecue