Entrepreneur, tastemaker, chef, founder, and curator of all things Joan’s on Third, Joan McNamara created an L.A. foodie institution.
The daughter of Czech immigrants, Joan grew up in a hard-working home where life revolved around the kitchen. Studying at her mother’s apron strings, she absorbed countless family recipes cooking alongside the family matriarch.
She began her career working for industrial designer Paul McCobb in Manhattan and famed chef Dione Lucas. After launching her cooking school, she and Lucas opened The Egg Basket, a gourmet omelet restaurant inspired by French cuisine and culture on 59th Street near Bloomingdale's, which Joan eventually bought and ran herself.
After moving to Los Angeles to raise her two daughters, Carol and Susie, Joan’s passion for cooking reemerged as the heart of her home, where she invited large groups of friends to gather until her guest lists outgrew her accommodations. She opened Joan’s on Third in 1995 with her daughters on a then-sleepy street in Los Angeles, quickly becoming one of LA’s most in-demand caterers and effectively putting Third Street on the map while helping define the city’s food culture.
Today, on Third Street and in Studio City, her devoted followers pack into the restaurants and marketplace, grabbing seats at the rustic community table or dashing in to grab a hard-to-find specialty item. A vibrant gathering place, Joan’s on Third has evolved into a culinary emporium and destination. And Joan is ever-present– behind the counter, visiting with guests, or helping her family of loyal and longtime staff serve their celebrated fare– proof that the legacy she has created is just as gracious in spirit as she is.