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THE GUIDE / NEIGHBORHOODS: MAGNOLIA PARK

Where retro cool thrives in Burbank

August 26, 2008|Rachel Levin | Special to The Times

ANTIQUE STORES and thrift shops rule Magnolia Boulevard -- the main artery of Burbank's Magnolia Park neighborhood -- but that doesn't mean the area is stuck in a dusty past. Founded in 1923, the quarter roughly bounded by Hollywood Way on the west and Buena Vista Street on the east still has Eisenhower-era storefronts, ranch-style homes dating to the 1940s and a small-town feel unblemished by chains and big-box stores. Yet Magnolia Park has found a way to parlay this into retro cool without sacrificing its independent spirit. Idiosyncratic boutiques and restaurants with a focus on nostalgic Americana are making the old new again. It might not be the next Silver Lake, but a new outpost of that area's trendy Vietnamese eatery, Gingergrass, is coming soon, another step toward making Magnolia Park a gathering spot for the iPhone-and-Dwell-magazine crowd.

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Boomer chic

The 1957 Chevy Bel Air front-end clip in the window of Burbank Antiques tips you off to the anthology of Americana awaiting within. Though many of the antique havens in the area traffic in musty books and crocheted doilies, this veritable art installation of boomer nostalgia promises such finds as a '50s soda-pop vending machine, vintage shaving equipment and a wide assortment of flange signs. 3429-A W. Magnolia Blvd., (818) 845-5700.

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For daddy-o's and DJs

When you walk into Atomic Records, you might hear Spanky Wilson's soulful album "Spankin' Brand New" crackling over the sound system. But nothing in this well-curated music shop is, in fact, new. Those hip to the vinyl resurgence will find a treasure trove of vintage jazz, blues, soul, and rock from ABBA to Zappa, all on wax. 3812 W. Magnolia Blvd., (818) 848-7090.

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For girlie girls and greaser guys

There are no beauty school dropouts at Frenchy's Beauty Parlor (2403 W. Magnolia Blvd., [818] 845-7545, www.frenchysbeautyparlor.com). The tattooed stylists tip their hats to the glamour of pinup and hot-rod culture with "kustom" cuts and color. After some hot pink highlights and a blowout, get outfitted in a cherry halter dress or bowling shirt from 8 Ball (3806 W. Magnolia Blvd., [818] 845-1155, www.8ballwebstore.com). You'll be ready to rumble.

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Something old, something new

Magnolia Boulevard between Ontario and Lima streets is thick with thrift stores and epochal threads. But two boutiques eschew the mothball atmosphere with a mix of new and vintage pieces. Carly Jean (3319 W. Magnolia Blvd., [818] 972-2500) stocks Idea camis and leggings alongside vintage frocks and barely used designer pieces. Swift (3212 W. Magnolia Blvd., [818] 558-1289, www.iloveswift.com) adds one-of-a-kind reconstructed garments to the mix.

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Classic fare

Magnolia Park's DIY spirit is reflected at Urban Eats, home of the design-your-own salad. Eames-style molded plastic chairs lend a midcentury vibe, as do specials such as the grilled cheese sandwich or pork chops with mashed potatoes and gravy. 3501 W. Magnolia Blvd., (818) 848-1106, www.urban-eats.com.

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The Guide on the Web

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