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Oct 16, 2006 09:58 PM

FINALLY, something worth eating in SE Burbank

It's been a week of setbacks for my chow ego, what with the fantastic supermarket dinner at Vallarta and the story I'm about to tell.

It was 14.00. I hadn't eaten because I'd been shackled to the phone since 10.00. I was starving. The problem is that I work near the new Home Depot... they might as well put up "Chow-Free Zone" signs. There's a reasonable Salvadorean place on Victory, but I don't love Salvadorean food. I like El Tapatio, but since I live on the border of North Hollywood and Van Nuys, I'm spoiled for choice of great Mexican food. There's hot dogs from the truck at Home Depot, which I like, but I always manage to get mustard on myself and I have another meeting at 15.30. There's downtown Burbank, but the parking... oy.

So I decided to head down Alameda, hoping that I'd find something before I hit Toluca Lake.

At the northwest corner of Alameda and Victory, the words hit me like a slap in the face: WILLIE'S FISH AND CHIPS. I made a quick right, parked, and walked in...

...right into a liquor store. With a sandwich counter.

Liquor stores can't possibly have chow, right?

Remembering that supermarkets supposedly couldn't have chow either, I walked up, placed an order for fish and chips, the older guy (Willie, I'm assuming) calls to the back for somebody, and out walks Olvis, who longtime Chowhounds will know as one of the guys behind the counter at Fish King in Glendale. The place rose much, much higher in my estimation. He went in the back to get cod, then cut it up and battered it in a plastic bucket right before my eyes. Six big fingers of cod, plus a double handful of steak fries done to order, half a lemon, and a tub each of ketchup and tartar sauce.

It was fantastic. I might ask for them to be a little more well-done next time, but that's strictly a personal choice... fresh, piping hot, flaky, perfectly done on the inside. The fries were perfect -- with that crunchy-chewy bite that only steak fries have -- and not oversalted.

The only real problem is that there are exactly two small tables, and even at 14.05 there were fifteen people there, getting everything from F&C to pastrami sandwiches on rye to oven-roasted turkey on French rolls. Apparently this is not a new discovery for the working people of Burbank, because it was full of everyone from workbooted men with paint on their faces to Armenian guys in velour track suits to a pale, clerkly-looking stockbroker type in an expensive suit.

My lunch cost me $6.99, plus $1.50 for a Diet Coke and tax. I'm thoroughly stuffed (probably won't eat dinner), very happy, and you can bet your Burbank bippy I'll be back, since it's all of half a mile from the office. Finally, something to chow on in southeast Burbank.

Willie's Fish and Chips
Inside the Alameda Market
321 W. Alameda Ave. (NW corner of Victory)
Burbank, CA 91506
(818) 848-1655

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  1. cool! I've always wondered about this place, but figured "nah--it's in deepest darkest BUR, how good could it be?"

    btw, as DU says, it's the corner of Alameda & Victory, but if you Googlemap or Mapquest it, they say somewhere on the other side of the 5. oy!

    1. Maybe a stone's throw from where you are and pretty good lunch buffet place is:
      QQ Buffet & Grill
      900 N. Central Ave., Glendale (Just north of the 134)

      Chinese food, sushi, boiled shrimp and mussels and other Asian and American fare.
      $6.99 for lunch buffet($1 for refillable soft drinks)and they got a parking lot of their own.

      1. I like Willie's, too. But it's definitely to go.

        If you keep heading down Victory you'll hit 2 other worthy (at least in my estimation) places in Burbank (well, technically Glendale but who's counting).

        One is a decent cuban restaurant:
        Mambo's Cafe
        1701 Victory Blvd
        Glendale, CA 91201

        Try the Mambo chicken.

        The other is the weirdest (good) BBQ sandwich you will ever have. The sauce is really an au jus rather than a traditional bbq sauce.

        Pecos Bill's BarBQ
        1551 Victory Blvd
        Glendale, CA 91201

        And since you're now fond of eating out of liquor stores. There's also a liquor store in between Mambo's & Pecos on Victory that sells bbq. No joke. Haven't tried it, yet so I couldn't tell you what it's like.

        1. i've been in this liquor store many many times but i've never been brave enough to try the food. what a great discovery you made!

          1. Just had the fish and chips today for lunch, and indeed, it's quite good and a large portion. The steak fries are also good, but out of a bag and nothing special. I do think that Robin Hood in Van Nuys has better F&C, but Willie's is much, much closer to where I am. Next time I'm there I'll try the pastrami sandwich!

            1 Reply
            1. re: symbebekos

              Oh, I agree -- Robin Hood (in Valley Glen -- we're not Van Nuys, we're not we're not we're NOT!) is much better F&C, but I'm just so happy to have something to chow on near work!