By Diane Skwarek
The building may look the same from the outside, but what a pleasant surprise once inside. Owner Baret Lepejian of Luca’s Lounge and owners Geo Santini and Bentin Eshoei of Aeirloom are ready to quench your palette with an array of appetizing menu selections and drinks. And though they share the same roof, each establishment has a unique style all its own.
Open since January, Luca’s Lounge Manager Alexandra D’Alessio is proud of their drink menu. “Our cocktail menu consists of some old favorites with a Luca’s Lounge twist,” she explains. Their select Craftsman Beers are from privately-owned breweries throughout California. Their Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines are made with organically grown grapes from Mendocino County. And as an added bonus, they also offer gluten-free Ciders from Colfax. Happy Hour is from 5-8 p.m. with a buy-one-get-one special.
Upon entering the contemporary-styled bar, you are greeted by the eclectic, indie-alternative music. Besides seating at the bar, there are half-round booths to accommodate 5-7 people. Centered in the room are comfortable couches and chairs. Luca’s Lounge also doubles as an art gallery. Curator Norman Clarke arranges a new opening every five to six weeks.
Aeirloom — yes, with an “A,” which the owners would be happy to explain — is designed in the country-cottage motif. Their menu items are Farmers Market inspired. They firmly believe in non-genetically modified ingredients, organic farming practices, and the conscious and humane treatment of animals. The eggs, from cage-free hens, and their meats, from grass-fed, free-range animals, are raised in California. For those who prefer something sweet, they offer non-GMO pastries and seasonal homemade jams. They also have a gluten-free menu along with vegetarian and vegan selections.
“What people love about the San Francisco scene, is what Ben and I want to bring to the Toluca Lake area,” the vibrant Geo enthuses. “To work with what is new combined with the traditional.” He’s passionate in providing a delicious and conscious dining experience. For coffee lovers, they serve roasted La Colombe Rouge from Philadelphia. Available too, are Art of Tea organic blends and fresh-squeezed lemonade and orange juice. Keeping with being totally organic, take-away drinks are served in a cornstarch-lined cup as opposed to petroleum laced.
Baret, of Luca’s Lounge, expresses it best: “It’s all about the simple pleasures in life.”
Luca’s Lounge is having their “soft opening” on Friday, Feb. 14. Luca’s Lounge hours are Noon-10 p.m. Sunday thru Thursday and Noon-2 a.m. Friday and Saturdays. Aeirloom, a Bakery-Breakfast-Lunch eatery, is open 7a—7p weekdays and 7a—5p on weekends. Takeout is available. They are located at 10550 Riverside Dr. in Toluca Lake. Both places are available for wrap, birthday, and other private parties.