The Inside Scoop: Joan McNamara, the Owner of Joan’s on Third

The Inside Scoop: Joan McNamara, the Owner of Joan’s on Third

In a town full of celebrities, to me, there is one that ALWAYS stops me in my tracks.  Her name is Joan and she has been making delicious food and serving it at her welcoming shop for the past 25 years! 

My heart skips a beat when I walk through her perfectly and plentifully curated Third Street shop and I honestly cannot imagine hosting an event without a touch of Joan’s on the menu.  It's as though she knows exactly what you're craving and she delivers it in the most extraordinary ways.  Our family’s personal Pavlovian response to plane travel involves her plastic-sleeved ficelle sandwiches, and any Angeleno will agree,  Joan’s Chinese Chicken Salad is the ultimate comfort food.

When she first walked through the doors of my shop, I had to pinch myself. Since then, we have become members of a mutual admiration society, and the decision to collaborate on a series at +COOP, feels like the perfect pairing. Getting a sneak peek behind the doors that read “KITCHEN” was an inspiring revelation.  Joan is a free-spirited artist who knows what she likes and how to make people feel joy. With the help of her two amazing daughters, she has created the ultimate emporium of deliciousness.

Happy 25th birthday Joan’s on Third!!!!


How do you express yourself creatively?

I love trying new recipes or thinking of new designs for the marketplace. Although at first, I thought the cooking part of the business was the most creative, I have learned that the business side is also creative. I love exploring ideas of how to grow the business-- for example, expanding our frozen food and grab and go selection.

Where do you find inspiration?

Travel. Actually, every place I go, there is always something new to discover-- new products, new ideas. I was just in Chicago for the National Restaurant Show and The Snacks and Sweets Expo and I loved walking the isles and finding new things and trying new food.

What’s your favorite meal of the day?

Well, I go out to dinner with friends almost nightly to try different restaurants in the city, so dinner plans are a priority. However, for the morning, as long as I have my cappuccino with extra foam, I am happy.

Favorite current LA restaurants?

Some new favorites are Yang Ban Society in DLTA, Saltie Girl on Sunset, and Si Laa Thai on Robertson Blvd. Angelini on Beverly is a longtime favorite.

Last best meal you ate?

When I was in Chicago last month, I had a delicious meal at Smoque Steak and Miru, a Japanese restaurant in the St. Regis Hotel.

What is the one thing that you could eat over and over again?

Any type of cheese. I love our cheeses at Joan’s on Third. I lean more towards savory foods.

What is your favorite room in your house, and why?

I live in a loft, so the whole room is my favorite. The space is so open and each room is part of the next. The office is part of the dining area and the kitchen is the heart of my space, and goes into the living room. I love the simplicity of the concrete floors and cinder block walls and decorating with art and mid-century modern furniture that I have bought over the years. I have an antique cart that displays many of my serving platters and utensils and other treasures—many that I bought at +COOP!

Top essential tools in your kitchen?

I love having a little Victorinox paring knife handy, as well as rubber spatula and Microplane zester. I love cooking in a rondeau pot, the shape makes it very versatile for sautéing or making a stew-- everything works in it.

Describe your entertaining philosophy.

I love having everything planned out, especially for larger parties. I like serving things that I can have prepared beforehand and as well as all the serving platters, plates, and utensils. I like being a part of the party and not running around the kitchen.

What is your favorite luxury?

I’ve had Mini Coopers for years and I absolutely love them. I just got a new one this week. The steering wheel feels especially luxurious– it’s padded and it’s so elegant. I just love it.

How do you like to unwind at home?

I read a lot. I visit with friends. I have a wonderful group of neighbors in the building. We’ve become friends and we visit each other’s lofts. My neighbor downstairs calls me often and asks if I want to come down for a chocolate martini.

If I wasn’t Joans’ On Third, I’d be _________.

I would be Joan’s on Fourth! It’s hard to imagine life without Joan’s on Third, but I think I would own a bed and breakfast or a grocery store.

Reading next


Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.