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Joan's On Third Sues Joan's On Third Over Omelet Fluffiness
Earlier this month, we learned that the Joan's on Third is Santa Monica was an imposter. Now, the OG Joan's on Third is suing the Santa Monica Joan's on Third, accusing them of improperly cooking signature dishes. Joan's on Third was founded by Joan McNamara in 1995, first opening on W. 3rd Street. McNamara later expanded to Studio City, but the Santa Monica location was developed as a licensing agreement that enabled that particular store to use Joan's on Third's branding and recipes. However, Joan's on Third Licensing (the original) recently announced via social media that the Santa Monica location was "no longer a licensed Joan's on Third."
In August, Walter Perkowitz of Joan's on Third Santa Monica sued Joan's on Third Licensing alleging breach of contract, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The suit accused McNamara of being extremely particular about decor and food, to the point of filing default notices to the Santa Monica shop. However, the suit also alleges that McNamara failed to provide instructions or tell the shop how things were to be done in the first place. Apparently, McNamara took issue with a particular communal table being three inches wider than a similar table in the Studio City location, the counter stools being too tall, and the metal patio chairs being slightly different from those at other locations. The suit also alleges that she never provided food "lookbooks" that detailed how the food should look, but then complained when the food failed to meet those standards.
The suit also complains that the Joan's on Third Licensing accused a chef of "willfully" botching an omelet by not correcting another chef's cooking technique, but that had the chef corrected the technique, he would have been "accused of misappropriating Joan's on Third confidential information."
McNamara fired back with her own complaint. That complaint alleges that Perkowitz's location was labeling things incorrectly, cooking their omelets the wrong way, frosting cupcakes with the wrong frosting, using gross chickpeas, floppy pickles and moldy cheese, and was selling things that hadn't been approved, such as gummy peach candies, according to Eater LA.
Jesse Saivar, a lawyer with Greenberg Glusker who has worked on previous restaurant licensing disputes, told the Hollywood Reporter that while a dispute about omelet fluffiness might seem funny, it could actually be ruinous to a restaurant chain if that chain's success is built on quality food. However, he said, "You've got to also give credence to what licensee is alleging: 'How can you tell us the omelet isn't fluffy enough when you won't tell us how to make the omelet?'"