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Source: The Tolucan Times and Canyon Crier
Vol. 59, No 7
February 12, 2003

The Evolution of A Trend: Sardo's Restaurant By Shari Rooks and Seymour Satin

Sardo's Restaurant, in business over 30 years, Sardo's was the second-born brain-child of Mike and Lee Sardo, who started their "family"
via a small and intimate restaurant called the Old Town Inn, inside the now-gone, but then-popular, Burbank Hotel. As with all perfect children, how could proud parents resist the addition of another member to their happy brood? Thus begins the intriguing story of the evolution to today's Sardo's Restaurant.

Sardo's very first employee, Joanie, was hired as a waitress the first day it opened 30 long years ago, and she hasn't left yet. She is a much-needed reminder, says Sardo's management, of the "'yesterdays' that should never be forgotten." Angela, a Sardo's top-notch server for 10 years, echoes Joanie's passion for the establishment. She, too, embraces the memories while now utilizing her additional talents by becoming an afternoon bartender. Anyone looking for warm welcomes and hardy laughs will appreciate what is known as the "Billy Red Show". Best known as "Billy Red," this daytime bartender and chuckle-inducer entertains old-timers and new-comers every weekend, and has been serving up drinks nonstop at Sardo's for 14 years. Sometimes the most worthwhile understanding of "progress" is recognizing and incorporating the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude that Sardo's has adopted. As a result, the progression toward perfection continues.

Today's Sardo's Restaurant is a hip mix of yesterday and today, offering everyone a nearly unexplainably relaxed yet upbeat mixture of lunch, music, dance and libations. It's 2003 revamping has brought the addition of a sports bar, featuring seven TVs, including a large-screen plasma set, perfect for weekend sports fans, as well as all-around redecorating and modernizing of the surroundings.

But that's what progression is all about. Simply ask John Price. He was one of the very first Sardo patrons to sit down and order a drink way back when - and he hasn't abandoned Sardo's yet. Sardo's embraces the loyalties of its employees and patrons alike, sticking with the tried-and-true while welcoming the desires of today's youth. Those 21 years and older should check out the phenomenally popular Karaoke, which commences nightly at 9:00 p.m. The trademarked cowboy-hat-clad "KJ", Jonathan Morales, sets the pace with a voice that captivates the house with everything from Sinatra to Motown and Metallica to N*SYNC. The Karaoke crowd has over 6,000 song titles to choose from it's state-of-the-art system, and one cannot help but be entertained by the surprisingly talented - and surprisingly unashamed and fun-loving people that get up to strut their stuff to the cheers of Sardo's young, cool and energetic night staff.

However, the pendulum swings both ways. The dinner menu, abandoned 10 years ago, is coming back and offering everyone, including area residents and nearby employees, execs and celebrities of NBC, Warner Brothers and Universal Studios, respectively, a welcome relief after a long day's work. Mass-produced chain restaurants have nothing on Sardo's upcoming dinner menu. Their longtime Chef, nicknamed "Pepe", impresses the crowds with his daily homemade soups and sauces, and a variety of imaginative food items to suit every taste. A perfect addition to their perfect menu is the invention of its increasingly popular signature drink: the Millennium - a tart and tangy concoction best described as something between a Cosmopolitan and Apple Martini. Their 11am to 4pm lunch menu is open to everyone. Lunch is economically priced, delicious and served quickly enough to accommodate the busiest of schedules.

Continuing its 30-year record of success, Sardo's recently hosted a private party for the nationwide singles Internet group Match.com, and has upcoming private, corporate and individual parties in the works. And there is no doubt why the decades-long success continues. Sardo's is proof that the perfect mix of the embraceable past and the high-spirited crowd of today is achievable, and can live happily ever after within the walls Sardo's Restaurant.

Sardo's Restaurant
259 North Pass Avenue
Burbank, CA 91505
818/846-8127