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, Nicky (and Paris) Hilton at the back table but nobody cares because the Chinese chicken salad is perfect and everyone else has too much to do. Did I mention the cupcakes?! It’s the perfect place to stop when you’re busy, when you barely have time for lunch, but it’s also, the perfect place to hang out.
Joan McNamara originally opened on this same spot as a catering shop but people kept coming in hungry -- and because she’s Joan, she’d drop everything and make them something to eat -- so, she finally caved and opened it as a restaurant. They’ve been open for lunch for years, but since a good thing is hard to keep down, she’s rented the storefront next door and as of last week, they’re, also, happily open for breakfast.
The original space is crowded and cramped and works like a New York charm, right dead in the heart of West Hollywood. The new breakfast space is a little more open, as if you’re in somebody’s great kitchen in a millhouse in France. The omelettes are perfect, a little bit soft, the pancakes are light and fluffy. Order and pay at the counter and your food will be brought unceremoniously to your table. The service is hardly cloying but you always feel, if you really want something, you just have to ask for it. The gleaming counter, the white tile floor, the hustle and bustle are all reminiscent of Joan’s New York roots and that funny feeling you can’t shake, that smart people eat here. -ae
Joan’s on Third is located at 8350 West Third Street (between La Cienega Blvd. and Fairfax Ave.) in Los Angeles.
by Chef Mark Shoup