While every installment of this magazine celebrates the love we feel for our neighborhood, we’re wearing our hearts on our sleeves even more than usual as we reflect on our hopes for the new year and anticipate the approach of Valentine’s Day. Around the office, we’ve been referring to this as “The Love Issue” — and we couldn’t have asked for a better cover story than that of Joe and Arlene Mantegna, quintessential Toluca Lake residents whose nearly 50-year relationship has endured from their schooldays in Chicago all the way through Joe’s rise to Hollywood fame and Arlene’s dream-come-true of opening their Burbank restaurant. They graciously shared their stories with us and welcomed us into their home and business, demonstrating the genuine kindness and generosity that make them such beloved members of this community.
In addition, we’ve profiled two more local couples who, like the Mantegnas, have extended their partnerships into the restaurant world: Lou and Karima Correa of Lou the French on the Block, and Brian Veskosky and Jim Orozco of Red Maple Cafe. Balancing romance and business is a topic that’s especially near to my heart — my wife of nearly 27 years, Judy, is the office manager for our company. I feel blessed that we get to see each other during the day and often enjoy lunch together in the neighborhood. Like the other couple-run businesses we’ve featured, I concur that loving what you do, having fun while working, and support from the community for our efforts makes it all worthwhile. And to quote Joe Mantegna, “It’s all good.”
Continuing the love theme, we’re bringing you a selection of nearby restaurants that are ideal for Valentine’s Day, or any date night with that special someone. We also know how much our readers adore their animal companions, so we’re honoring that with a special, super-sized Pets of Toluca section and a roundup of local resources that will help you lavish some extra love on your furry or feathered friends. And let’s not forget how important it is to show yourself a little love, too, as we all recover from the excess (and sometimes plain old stress) of holiday celebrations and set goals for the year ahead. Since so many New Year’s resolutions tend toward health and fitness, we’ve got an overview of the wealth of fun exercise options available in and around Toluca Lake to help you get motivated and moving.
As always, I want to mention that we truly love getting to know our neighbors through our work on this magazine. At the Toluca Lake Holiday Open House in December, we were thrilled that so many of you visited our table to tell us how much you’ve enjoyed our first two issues and entered our drawing to share your own Toluca Lake favorites. Your feedback and story ideas are invaluable, so please continue introducing yourself to us at events, stopping by our office or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know how we can help showcase the best this community has to offer.
Thanks again for all your support, and let’s make 2018 a great year for Toluca Lake!