Doing Lunch on Riverside Drive

Overwhelmed with choices, today’s Riverside Drive took The Sauce out for lunch.

The Sauce wouldn't begin to try to count the number of wonderful restaurants on Riverside Drive as it winds its way through Toluca Lake and Burbank. The collection represents the best of the old and the new.  

This is by no means our last visit to Riverside Drive—but this week we're dropping in on three of the street's light, bright, fashionable choices that offer daytime breakfast, sandwiches, salads and soups with an artisanal flair (some offer dinner too). And we admit to being tempted by the fresh bakery goodies at all of these spots. Heading east to west:

Olive & Thyme: Think Joan’s on Third in Studio City but bigger, more jam-packed, more of a scene, especially on a weekday when the Burbank studio crowd is out prowling for food (and their executive assistants are scrambling for takeout). Plenty of pastries, candies and cute gifts available along with sandwiches (many served on boards), salads, espresso drinks, etc. I tried the fattoush salad with added smoked turkey, garnished with smoky pita chips and fresh mint … oh so light and lovely. Open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for breakfast and lunch, then re-opens 5 to 9 p.m. for dinner. But bummer—closed Sundays, so back to Joan’s for brunch.
3821 Riverside Drive, Burbank, 818-557-1560

Sweet Salt Food Shop: I admit this one’s my favorite of the three. Salads, soups, baked goods, yes—but a real sandwich lover’s paradise. The friend who introduced me to the place suggested getting there a little before noon to make sure to find a table at this popular spot. So we’d race in at 11:45, order two sandwiches, grab a seat and split ‘em so we could both try both. The short rib roll and shrimp po’ boy rank at the top of our list. Open until 9 p.m. weekdays for dinner.
10218 Riverside Drive, Toluca Lake, 818-509-7790

Aeirloom Bakery: When spelled "Aireloom," it’s a brand of mattress. Spelled "Aeirloom," it’s a relaxed, pretty, breakfast-all-day and lunch spot that has taken up residence in the former Chez Nous space (late lunch possible since they don’t close until 5 p.m.) The establishment promises “sustainability, organics and a loving food interaction.” The Sauce is not quite ready for that kind of commitment—but did enjoy being just friends with the Simply Southern (organic homemade mini-waffles with bacon and breaded free-range chicken breast, can’t imagine the optional avocado in this picture)—and, on another visit, the Mr. Finnelly sandwich: wild smoked salmon with herbed cheese spread, fresh dill, avocado (here it fits) and lemon infused micro-greens on country toast. And unlike the other two restaurants, you don’t have to wait in line to place your order.
10550 Riverside Drive, Toluca Lake, 818-754-1955

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