At 8 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 22, Joan McNamara is finally opening the doors of her Studio City outpost of Joan's On Third, the much-loved Third Street cafe and market. That sound you hear is the entire San Fernando Valley rejoicing, as well as a lot of people on the other side of the hill too, all of whom have been waiting a long time, going on two years now, for McNamara's second shop to open.
The new restaurant and marketplace is also called Joan's On Third, even though this is not on Third St. but on Ventura Place in Studio City — some streets being metaphorical rather than literal — in the exceedingly pretty home of what used to be a post office. The space is about the same square footage as the original Joan's, and designed in much the same way. It also has the same menu and marketplace, and, at least for the first weeks, will have McNamara herself bustling around the kitchen and between the communal tables, as she customarily does in the shop on Third Street.
This second shop has been a long time coming, as McNamara started her catering business in 1995, and opened her original shop in 1998. She's worked the same magic in Studio City as she has in West Hollywood, decorating the 4,000-square foot space with white and tile and glass and metal, and filling the airy location with vintage furniture and rows of books and cheeses, cow art and farmhouse signage.
The space is high and lofty, with white exposed beams and the skylights that were the reason McNamara chose the building in the first place. ("When did we start this?" McNamara asked the day before she opened. "About a thousand years ago.")
As she's been working with her team to open, McNamara has been busy sourcing. The hanging lights outside above the patio came from England; the ironwork potato chip rack came from a Texas flea market. And the Sunday before she opened, McNamara was busy finding more things for her store — in the farmers market that operates just outside her front door.
Inside, there are two long communal tables in the large tiled space between the open kitchen and the front retail space, which will have coffee (Stumptown) and pastry cases. Lining the walls near the long tables are floor-to-ceiling shelves with all the cool stuff Joan's is known for (tins and jars, cookbooks and chocolates). On the other side of the shop, the refrigerated cases are by the check-out lines, rather than by the tables and chairs.
There's also counter space and smaller tables inside, and outside a patio space that seats 30. The open kitchen is at the physical and emotional center of the space, as it is at the original shop. An incredibly well-stocked cheese case greets you as you walk in, along with an small olive tree — as well as those signature cows and pigs of which McNamara is so fond.
"Can you imagine a live cow on Sundays?" McNamara said, referring to the small petting zoo that the Studio City farmers market has among all the terrific produce stalls and other vendors.
There will be the same menu and marketplace items in both the Studio City and West Hollywood shops, including Domenico's fresh pastas, delivered twice a week, and Sierra Madre's Mother Moo ice cream. (Salt & Straw is now available in their own recently-opened shop in Larchmont Village.) McNamara has been busy adding pretty canvas gift bags and little crates, filled with lovely things ("I have no idea what's in that"), just in time to gear up for the ever-approaching holiday season. There's also beer and wine, as there is at the West Hollywood restaurant, available to order on the patio with your cheese and charcuterie and meatloaf. "People never realize we have wine," says McNamara. And coming soon? Root beer floats.
For those worried about parking, there is plenty of street parking in the little shopping district right off of Laurel Canyon, as well as valet parking available, thanks to the folks at nearby CBS. And if you're thinking of commuting between both outposts, the route over Laurel Canyon can be a pretty straight shot, which McNamara says she's accomplished in under fifteen minutes. Maybe leave that to the professionals.
Joan's On Third, Studio City, will be open every day from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (although it may close earlier on Sundays), beginning on Sept. 22.
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