If you're a Joan's on Third junkie, as many of us in this town are, then news that Joan McNamara was finally expanding to a second location was cause for celebration. Like serious celebration, the kind where you mark off the weeks on your calendar and maybe consider rerouting your daily commute just to be closer to her cupcakes and croissants, her Chinese chicken salads and PB&J on pan de mie and whatever was going on in those deli cases and candy baskets.

For a time it seemed possible that the new Joan's on Third, which is in Studio City in a former post office on Ventura Place, might be open in time for the holidays. McNamara, who was busy behind and in front of the counters at her Third Street location yesterday morning, as she often is, says we'll need to wait until early next year.

Joan's on Third; Credit: A. Scattergood

Joan's on Third; Credit: A. Scattergood

“We're hoping January,” said McNamara, pausing to actually sit down at one of her wooden communal tables. “Construction is going on now. We're down to the fun part.” The fun part being lighting and fixtures, as McNamara loves trolling antique shops and flea markets for the kind of stuff that makes her market as pretty as the stuff that comes out of the pastry kitchen.

The new Joan's, also to be called Joan's on Third — some streets being more metaphorical than actual — will be very much like the current Joan's. Same open kitchen, same cheese selection and prepared-food cases, same beautiful baked goods and breads and candies — all good news for anyone on the other side of the Hollywood Hills.

The new space actually has a thousand more square feet, up to 4,000 from the 3,000 on Third Street. McNamara says she's reconfiguring things just a bit for convenience: a kitchen that's better laid out, refrigerated cases farther from the tables, places for people who want to sit and write beautiful novels while they eat those fantastic ficele sandwiches.

Yes, you'll still have all those pretty things, and the cheese case smack in front of you when you walk in. Because the Studio City farmers market is right outside the front doors on Sundays, look for even more market-oriented items, although McNamara is still thinking and is open to suggestions.

As for the timing of the opening, there's much to be said for waiting for the holiday craziness to be over, especially given how much holiday cooking goes on at the Joan's on Third that's already open. Just check out its Thanksgiving catering menu and you'll see why it's maybe a good thing that McNamara and her crew aren't planning an opening at the same time as they cook your turkey, corn pudding and pumpkin roulade with ginger buttercream for you.

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LA Weekly