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 here 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 ever larger 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.
Carol is the mastermind behind all of our catering and special events. Creating menus for weddings and intimate holiday dinners, planning and coordinating large-scale events for corporate and entertainment clients, Carol’s indispensable leadership has helped earn Joan’s on Third the coveted spot as Los Angeles’ caterer of choice. Consistently referenced in Top 10 industry lists, and featured regularly in the “Best of” columns of major event and lifestyle publications, Carol and her team are proud of our premier distinction as one of the finest caterers in all of Southern California.
Carol partnered with Joan after attending Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and graduating from UCLA. She completed her studies with a semester at The American University of Paris before coming home to Joan’s on Third with fresh ideas and strategies for taking the events department to scale. Her invested, hands-on approach to every event envelopes Joan’s’ quality of service with a personalized passion one won’t find elsewhere in the catering industry. Carol’s love for people, creativity, and impeccable attention to detail regularly earn her shining praise and accolades from our clients.
After graduating from Georgetown University’s School of Business, Susie joined the family business with a marketing plan for Joan’s on Third. She now oversees operations, manages marketing and social media, and takes photographs constantly. Devoted to cultivating an exceptional customer experience, she extends Joan’s love of family and friends through her own style of service embraced by the staff.
After working together for several years, Susie married Chester Hastings, a talented chef from San Francisco whom Joan and Carol had hired in 1997. Chester worked closely with Joan for more than a decade, developing new recipes and sharing creative ideas with her daily. Susie and Chester now have two children, Henry and Molly, who may one day serve the next generation at Joan’s on Third.
“Can we have a moment for the deliciously decadent Chocolate Coconut Cupcake I just devoured?”
Juvi G., Yelp Review
Los Angeles Times