Home Buying and Suburban Living: What I Love About Burbank

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Home Buying and Suburban Living: What I Love About Burbank // Budget Fairy Tale

I never thought I’d be a homeowner, and I REALLY never thought I’d be a homeowner to a lovely single family residence in beautiful Burbank, CA – home to the studios of childhood heroes Walt Disney and Johnny Carson. Yet here I am … life works in puzzling ways and I think I will probably spend the rest of my life trying to figure out how I managed to be so lucky to end up in this fabulous spot.

In partnership with the CA Association of REALTORS®, I want to talk about our home buying process a little bit and brag about my awesome neighborhood of Burbank a lot.

When we felt the time was right to look for a home, financially and mentally, we began our search in Burbank. At the time we were living in an apartment in Studio City right off Ventura Blvd and we loved our neighborhood, but couldn’t afford to buy there. Burbank offered a nice alternative – a little farther from the center of LA but a more suburban, relaxed vibe. We knew we probably wouldn’t find a home with a walkability score of our apartment, with the coffee shops and small bakeries and fancy restaurants and hip bars, but that was the trade off for owning a detached home, on a tree lined street with a private backyard. And that was fine with us.

Our first step was to find a Realtor. We met with someone at the recommendation of a friend. She set us up for an automatic daily email of new listings meeting our criteria in our desired neighborhoods. Through the email I found our current home. While on the listing it wasn’t that impressive, we decided to put it on our weekend Open House list. After seeing it in person, we told our Realtor we liked it and she arranged a private showing for us the following day. From that point on, our Realtor was invaluable in helping us with the home buying process. So much paperwork, so many deadlines. Even with my experience working for a mortgage company, there’s so much you don’t realize you don’t know about buying and owning a home.

Facts from the CA Association of REALTORS®:

One job is generated for every two home sales
One home purchase stimulates the economy by $60K
A homeowner’s net worth is 34 times that of a renter

Once we settled into our home and started exploring our area more and more, we realized how much we truly had fallen in love with Burbank. I mean, we are a mile from the Disney Studios and I go jogging around the perimeter (they always deny me entrance at the front gate, meanies. DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?). But seriously, we have pretty much everything we could need and want within a few miles radius. We are a block away from my beloved Starbucks, a diner, a 7-11 for emergency necessities, and two blocks from a grocery store. We knew all this when we bought the house, but in the six months we’ve lived here we have discovered so much more. I’m going to do a quick run down of my favorite places in Burbank. I think pretty much all of these are off the beaten path a little, so if you are a Burbank resident or live nearby, you might not be aware of these hidden gems. And yes, 4 out of 5 involve food, because, FOOD.

Home Buying and Suburban Living: What I Love About Burbank // Budget Fairy Tale

Olive’s Bistro – Olive’s Bistro is actually a bar/restaurant inside the Coast Anabelle hotel on Olive Avenue. It’s technically not our closest bar (that would be Talleyrand, also on Olive) but it’s only a couple blocks away so we paid it a visit one night not too long after we moved in. We found out quickly that this is where the “locals” go and hang out. For years. One person I met had been coming there for over 10 years and the bartender, Dennis, had been there the whole time. The main bartenders are Dennis and Luke, and they are amazing people. They are welcoming, kind, and funny, but inappropriate funny. They have me cracking up every time I go in. When I got laid off, I went to Olive’s Bistro and they treated me to a shot. Oh, and the food. You would think hotel restaurant food would be just okay, but everything I’ve had here is really good. My favorites are the blue cheese burger and the tostada salad.

Home Buying and Suburban Living: What I Love About Burbank // Budget Fairy Tale

Home Buying and Suburban Living: What I Love About Burbank // Budget Fairy Tale

Circle K Ranch – Our home is located in what’s unofficially referred to as the “Equestrian adjacent” neighborhood. That’s because just south of our block is the northern border of the “Equestrian” neighborhood, named so because it’s zoned for horses. Yes, you can own and keep a horse on your property if you live here, and you can walk it around and give it a bath in your driveway if you want to (all things I’ve seen while out on runs). In the middle of the Equestrian neighborhood is Circle K ranch, where you can rent horses for rides through the trails of adjacent Griffith Park. When my in-laws (and little nieces) were visiting last month, I brought them to Circle K thinking we would get a glimpse of some people riding their horses. But my Sister-in-Law went up to an employee and asked if we could go to the fence and just look at the horses, and they said yes! Next thing we knew, we were surrounded by horses! It was a cool experience. We even saw a miniature pony getting a bath. #Hollywood

Home Buying and Suburban Living: What I Love About Burbank // Budget Fairy Tale

Home Buying and Suburban Living: What I Love About Burbank // Budget Fairy Tale

Clubhouse at De Bell Golf Course – One night I was having a drink at Olive’s Bistro and chatting with a long time local about The Castaway, a Burbank restaurant up in the hills famous for its sweeping views of the city. The local told me, “Castaway is good for brunch but it’s expensive. If you want a similar experience for much less, go to the Clubhouse at the golf course right below Castaway.” So we did! Clubhouse has a great patio right on the golf course with views of the valley, and great sandwiches and salads and drinks at reasonable prices.

Home Buying and Suburban Living: What I Love About Burbank // Budget Fairy Tale

Home Buying and Suburban Living: What I Love About Burbank // Budget Fairy Tale

Quenelle – On man, what can I say about Quenelle on Magnolia Blvd … it’s only the best ice cream I’ve ever had (sorry Big Gay Ice Cream truck). Made with all natural ingredients, Quenelle offers a wide variety of unique flavors that changes daily (orange blossom, red bean, and oolong tea were on the menu last time I went) but their blueberry pie ice cream is uber popular for a reason. Get it with added graham cracker streusel topping and thank me later. They also sell push pops, popsicles, and cookies. This place is no thrills. Bare walls, no seating, no website, cash only, and always has a line out the door … as my husband said, “They offer one thing and they do it well.” It’s a good thing Quenelle is about a 20 minute walk from our home, or else I would be there every day.

Home Buying and Suburban Living: What I Love About Burbank // Budget Fairy Tale

Chadaka Thai – Another restaurant on busy San Fernando Blvd near Magnolia that you would overlook if you weren’t searching for it specifically. BUT, Chadaka Thai has the BEST happy hour in town. From 3pm – 7pm every day, they have a $5 menu. STRONG drinks and plentiful appetizers for only $5 each. This is my favorite place to meet up with my girlfriends and get boozy.

What are your favorite places in your neighborhood? Why do you love visiting them? What would you do if you had a day to spend in Burbank?

All images are my own.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.



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  1. says

    Being born in Pasadena, I have spent a lot of time in Burbank & love the entire area; it perfectly represents why I love LA; because a city like Burbank has the country side AND the city side! :) I love to go to the movie theatre there (I think its downtown??) & hit up a restaurant like BJs :)

  2. Hope at Disneyland says

    I really like your neighborhood. We’ve gone past these places when we go down to the Media District but now I have a reason to make a pit-stop since they have the BFT seal of approval. 😉 I was always curious about the Tallyrand too. I saw it on a Huell Howser episode a few months ago. lol My hubby really wants to ride a horsie. When we’ve walked Griffith Park and see the people on horses we always say how cool that must be. The smell we can do without though. 😀 The only things I’ve done down your ways is El Torito, BJ’s, Barney’s, City Market Cafe, Gourmet 88 and Kabuki. We had a date night near us and turned to Yelp to see what was hip and happening and walked to a local restaurant that ended up being really nice. We’ve walked past it for years but never went in until last week. It’s always nice to re-discover your hood. 😉

    • Mindy Marzec says

      I love that you’re rediscovering your neighborhood! I’ve only been to 3 out of the 6 places you listed, so need to step up my Burbank game!

  3. Christine says

    Your neighborhood sounds fantastic! I’m glad you were able to find such a great place to call home!

    My friend recently thought about buying a home, and a friend of hers suggested getting a loan online for a lower rate vs working with an actual loan officer at a bank. Call me old fashioned, but home buying and home loans are such a big and complicated purchase that is one thing I’ll gladly NOT DIY! Our realtor was superb and we couldn’t have been more pleased about how quick and efficient the process was!

    • Mindy Marzec says

      Thanks Christine! We were really insistent on meeting our Realtor and our loan officer in person before we started the process. We spent so much time on the phone and emailing with them, we wanted to feel like we really knew the people we were handing over all our money to – haha. It’s the biggest purchase and loan of our lives so far, so we needed the experts to guide us. I’m glad you had such a great experience with your Realtor!

    • Mindy Marzec says

      Funny you bring up Travel Town, Ruth! I was going to mention it but I found out while crafting this post that Travel Town is actually in a Los Angeles Zip Code. Who knew?! When I was in elementary school we always went to Travel Town on field trips and I loved it.

  4. Jan says

    Burbank is really the greatest. We live around the corner in Toluca Lake and have discovered we can walk to Riverside, the NoHo arts district, Universal Citywalk, and Ventura from our place – so we go exploring a lot! Currently loving the North Hollywood area and its new crop of cute restaurants and bars. Have you been to Tiki No?

    We head into Burbank a lot, too – love the downtown stretch (a movie theater, Pizza Rev, Chipotle, and ice cream galore? YES PLEASE) but haven’t tried that Thai place you mentioned yet! Also love Granville and Gordon Biersch (they offer a studio employee discount, woo!). But my favorite place – very close to Quenelle – is Donut Hut. If you haven’t been, go get a fresh glazed buttermilk or angel cream-filled. Best donuts around and open 24 hours. Mmmmm!!

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