Sorrentino’s

sorrentinos

Sorrentino’s Seafood House was one of several Southland restaurants owned and operated by members of the Sorrentino family.  It was located at the corner of Pass Avenue and Riverside in Burbank.  A few blocks away was the more upscale Alfonse’s, run by the famous chef, Alfonse Sorrentino.  The seafood restaurant was reportedly run by two of his cousins.  Whoever ran it, it was a great place that at lunchtime was packed with folks in the entertainment industry.

I liked lunch at Sorrentino’s better than dinner, though both were great.  At lunchtime, most entrees came with an amazing kind of potato I’ve never encountered anywhere else.  It was halfway between the consistency of a baked potato and mashed — something like a pudding — and laced with onion. It was not listed as a side dish on the menu, which may explain why it didn’t seem to have a name. Every time I asked a waitress what it was called, the answer was “It’s just something the chef whips up at lunchtime.” He did not whip it up at dinner and believe me: I asked.

The photo above is of Sorrentino’s banquet room which got a lot of traffic from TV shows and movies holding wrap parties or press conferences. I rented it a few times on behalf of CAPS, the Comic Art Professional Society, back when I was on its Board of Directors. The food was good, the staff was great. The only reason I can imagine for its closure in the eighties was that they didn’t do as much business in the evenings as they did for lunch. An awful lot of deals were concluded and script meetings held in its lush, red booths. I miss it and I miss those potatoes.

21 Responses to Sorrentino’s

  • Ken says:

    The Smoke House Restaurant originally occupied this site from it’s opening in 1946, until it outgrew the place and moved to it’s current location at the corner of Olive and Lakeside Drive in 1949. Mentioned in the “Tales from the Smoke House” video on their web site.

  • Lora Decker says:

    My mother worked there for many many years as a cashier hostess. I grew up across the street. I can remember meeting many of my favorite stars there. It was a treat for me when she would bring home fried shrimp for my favorite crab Louie salad . I was devastated when I heard it had been torn down lora

  • Carol Peraza says:

    Loved Sorrentino’s….had my first Shrimp Louie there….and BOOM there walks in Ed McMahon with the most beautiful woman …..a shrimp almost got caught in my throat… LOL

  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos (NM) says:

    Hope this menu helps http://tinyurl.com/y9jsurnn
    I can’t believe those prices!
    “Chow!” as we Non-Italians say.

  • barbara clark says:

    I worked at Warner/Reprise Records in the 60s and we always went there for lunch when anyone had a birthday. It was the darkest restaurant I’ve ever been in but such a relief to escape the 90 degree blazing heat outside, and the food was always great – especially the chowder!!

  • Al Donnelly says:

    What was the Robert C. “Bob” (Big Boy) Wian involvement mentioned before. He lived in Newport Beach and once owned a sailboat used in the film “Wackiest Ship in the Army”. But where’s the seafood connection?

  • The Fish Doctor says:

    Learned of its existence in the early 1980’s during my few month’s getting a handle on the fish biz while working for Alan Beck at Coral Reef Enterprises/Aquarium Design International/etc. Due to a legal agreement I chose not to bid this property (aquarium) but nothing said that I could not enjoy the food/friends/acquaintances’ made there over the years, no doubt due to its convenient location/close proximity to so many other business and residential properties. It’s so true! The old axiom/mantra; LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! Sad to see it is no longer in business…MJC

  • Suzanne Reeve Riley says:

    My dad was a studio singer and he used to take me and my mom there for lunch. We had the Mariners salad with that wonderful dressing ….green goddess. I used to love watching them have their cocktails and flirt with each other. My parents were very happy and I had a great time living in an entertainment family.

  • Sally Burr says:

    My father worked at Walt Disney Studios in the late ’50’s and early ’60’s and that was the absolutely best restaurant he ever took us to! Glad somebody besides me remembers it!

  • David Collier says:

    What was exact location on Riverside Drive? I think it was adjacent to old Now Voyager.

  • Brian Eisenrich says:

    Rich Corrao – sorry but Sorrentino’s was torn down not long after you were there and is now a FedEx-Kinkos.

  • ROBERT ATKINSON says:

    Ahh, yes. I loved this place, too. I was treated by colleagues from work to a birthday dinner here once. We all had a great time and loved the food. It became another frequent favorite place to dine and enjoy here in San Fernando Valley.

  • Rich Corrao Sr says:

    I was on a business trip back in the 80’s….. the vendor took me to Sorrentino’s for lunch….. it was great…… Just reminiscing a bit over another good time visiting Ca. Question : what replaced this Restaurant upon this location? Thank you Rich

  • Carol says:

    That thick New England clam chowder is something I dream about every time I try to reel in a new place to get chowder that can compare! Very hard to find! I used to go into Sorrentino’s once a week or so, just to order a huge tureen of the chowder to take home – this did not include all the times I went there on dates for dinner. Wonderful memories……

  • Jeree Anderson says:

    Anybody have a picture of the deep comfy booths with the endless signed photographs above? Never had clam chowder like they served again. What great recipes.

  • Liz says:

    Alfonse and Bill Sorrentino were brothers.

  • Tim Loose says:

    They were own by Bob Wian of Big Boy fame.

  • George says:

    For your information, for the last many years that Sorrentinos existed, it was owned and run by my uncle George Shub, with the help of his brother-in-law Art Soll. Sorrentinos was a great place for a group of us Lockheed employees to have lunch on occasion. We also enjoyed having lunch at Alfonse’ and the nearby Tick-Tock . The one remaining great restaurant from those days is The Smoke House

  • Shel Willens says:

    Every afternoon the bar looked like a casting office for Columbia tv and Warner Brothers down the street. They served the best abalone steak and the best gin and tonic in town. Great place.

  • Ray Ballard says:

    My wife and I had our wedding reception there in 1974 and everyone enjoyed themselves. We went to dinner there a few times and were really sad when we discovered it was gone.

  • Christopher Riordan says:

    I miss the Sand Dabs.

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