Joan's on Third
retail food sales
|Founded||Los Angeles, California, USA (1995 )|
8350 West Third St.|
Los Angeles, California 90048
Joan's on Third is a specialty food marketplace and restaurant located on Third Street in Los Angeles, California. Joan's is situated in an area popular with Angelenos for its eating and shopping establishments, located between the Beverly Center on La Cienega Boulevard and Farmer's Market at the Grove on Fairfax Avenue.
A family business owned and operated by chef Joan McNamara and her children, Joan's started out as a catering operation running out of a storefront on Third St. As demand grew, McNamara expanded her business to include a small café and marketplace. The store tripled its size after a decade of operation, and the restaurant now includes a full menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The shop in the same space sells artisan cheeses, prepared foods, baked goods, desserts and non-perishables.
Its popularity and success has grown on the strength of its products and good reviews in multiple publications and media outlets. It also has a reputation as a hip gathering spot frequented by Hollywood celebrities and foodies, such as Robert Duvall, Jake Gyllenhaal and Moon Zappa.
Joan McNamara, namesake of Joan's, is a chef originally from New York, where she ran a cooking school and her own restaurant before moving to L.A. She opened Joan's in 1995 as a catering company located in a storefront on West Third St. Joan's two daughters, Carol, a graduate of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, and Susie, an alumna of the Georgetown University School of Business, also help run the business. San Francisco chef Chester Hastings came to work at the store in 1997 and eventually married Susie McNamara.
In 1998 Joan's expanded into an adjacent storefront on Third Street, helping to realize Ms. MacNamara's "lifelong dream of opening a gourmet foods marketplace and café." Another major expansion took place in 2007 that helped expand the scope of the company's operations by tripling the floor space of the market. Beside being a market, Joan's is also a full-service restaurant providing table service and take-out meals for it patrons. Often very busy, Joan's has been described as being reminiscent of some famous New York restaurants, including Zabar's, Dean & DeLuca, and Fairway Market.
Joan's has a full-service cheese counter stocked with artisan cheeses; a dessert bar with baked goods, an assortment of chocolates and dessert bars; and a prepared food counter where sandwiches are offered along with other ready-to-eat foods, salads and snacks. An assortment of dry goods and refrigerated products are also offered, and Joan's sells gift baskets. The owners travel extensively to source products.
The restaurant has generally been given favorable reviews in several publications and news outlets, including the New York Times, CNN and Time magazine. A Los Angeles Times review noted that Joan's is the "rare in LA specialty foods store" that "stocks essentials -- salt-cured anchovies sold by the ounce, capers under salt, ricotta cheese, fleur de sel (a specialty sea salt from France), and imported De Cecco brand pasta" and "a small selection of carefully chosen cheeses, such as locally made burrata, English Cotswold, or a truffle-infused Boschetto."
While the Los Angeles Times reviewer stated that the food was "above average", she also noted that "It [the restaurant] is somewhat disorganized. When there's a rush (i.e., more than a handful of customers), the servers behind the counter can sometimes get flustered, and it seems to take longer than it should to put together an order." The Zagat Survey lists Joan's as a Top Bakery in the US and the customer reviews posted on the website are mostly positive, with one poster calling Joan's offerings "fun and delicious, albeit expensive, snacks, cheeses, etc."; however a couple of other commentators stated it is "overrated" and "overpriced".
Other customer criticisms center around customer service, the order taking system, food quality, price and value.
The Los Angeles Daily News Food Editor on LA.com noted the crowded conditions in Joan's and warned that "At busy times, it can be difficult to snag a table - and the frenetic pace and wait to order at the counter may not appeal to some. Parking is sometimes difficult to come by." 
The company has been noted as being popular among several celebrities and gourmands who live in the southlands of California. Writing for The New York Times, Moon Zappa described Joan's on Third as her favorite Los Angeles eatery. The restaurant is also a favorite of Jake Gyllenhaal, who has been seen dining there with ex-girlfriend Kirsten Dunst.
- Jolie Loeb (2007-09-17). "There's No Place Like Joan's". LA2Day. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
When it comes to Joan's, I am humbled. My devotion borders on addiction. This little haven on Third, my Dean & Deluca come west, is a demonstrative embodiment of its luminary namesake.
- Noelle Carter (2008-01-30). "Joan's on Third lemon bars". The LA Times.
It's easy to fall in love with the lemon bars at Joan's on Third -- all lined up in the glass bakery case, prettily dusted with sugar.
- Richard Johnson (2008-03-06). "Apocalypse now comes to Joan's". The New York Post. Retrieved 2008-11-09.
As he [Robert Duvall] waited for a table at Joan's on Third in LA the other day, he said to another customer, "When you're hungry, there's nothing like it, huh? I love the smell of good food
- Caroline Roman (2010-10-10). "Food Fight at The Supper Club!". The Daily Truffle.
- Sally Horchow. "Los Angeles Club Scene: Cooking Clubs". Food & Wine Magazine. Retrieved 2008-11-09.
- "Who we are". Joan's on Third. Retrieved 2008-11-09.
- Lesley Balla (2007-09-07). "New Joan's on Third is huge!". LA Eater. Retrieved 2008-11-09.
Holy crap, look at the size of Joan's on Third.
- Katherine Spiers (2007-12-21). "New kids on the restaurant block". Metromix. Archived from the original on September 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-09.
...throngs of hungry customers. The seating is limited, and even if you score a table you will probably spend a lot of the meal being bumped by take-out patrons. But the freshly-made sandwiches and salads are more than worth a few "excuse mes."
- Amy Ephron. "Joan's on Third". One for the Table. Retrieved 2008-11-09.
Artisan cheese in the display case, turkey meatloaf you wish you could make at home, fresh lemonade that’s just the right amount of sweet and sour, strawberry jam for sale on the shelf...
- "About Us:Press". Joan's on Third. Retrieved 2008-11-09.
- S. Irene Virbila (July 2008). "Joan's on Third". The LA Times. Retrieved 2008-11-09.
- "Joan's on Third". Zagat Survey. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
- "Joan's On Third". Yelp. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
- Natalie Haughton (February 2008). "Joan's on Third". LA Daily News. Retrieved 2009-04-20.
- Moon Zappa (2001-11-18). "ONE STREET AT A TIME; Positively Third Street". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
In the taste department, Joan's on Third is by far my favorite spot, not just on Third, but possibly in all of Los Angeles.
- Whitney Matheson (2004-09-21). "L.A.: The best place for fried cheese, ninjas and $1,700 shirts". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
Joan's on Third. Come on, I had to eat at one of Jake Gyllenhaal's favorite restaurants.
- The Daily Dish (2004-08-06). "Lindsay's ring sparks wedding rumors; P Diddy's furious yacht battle; Knightley signs autographs in the buff". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
Kirsten Dunst and Jake Gyllenhaal have prompted hopes of a reunion, after they were spotted enjoying a coffee break together.