Sweet Lady Jane (Encino)

One of my first memories of CH was reading (or trying to read) the GIGANTIC thread on Sweet Lady Jane’s. My vague recollection is that the threads were basically, “It’s fantastic!” or “The woman behind Sweet Lady Jane is a totall b*tch, and I hate her baked goods.”

I’ve never been to the one in Hollywood, but they’ve opened a branch in Encino across the street from my office. I thought it might make a good lunch rotation, so I tried it yesterday.

It’s okay, I guess, but I can’t say I wish to return. The croissant had a nice shatter-y exterior but was super greasy (as in, I-can’t-use-my-phone-w/o-grease-marks-marring-the-screen greasy). It was kind of sweet, too. They warmed it up before serving it to me, which was a nice touch.

The chicken curry salad sandwich was noticeably more sweet. The bread (olive) was sweet, as was the salad itself. It wasn’t cloying but, after finishing one half, I was dying for some salt or a squeeze of lemon or… SOMETHING. The ingredients seem high-quality and the salad was moist, but it was pretty bland overall. The sandwich is deceptive filling… So much so that I was uncomfortably full several hrs later.

Including a tiny tip, my sandwich + croissant was $18 (!).

Can’t say I have a desire to try the cakes, given how oddly sweet the other items I tried were.

Their cakes are cloyingly sweet, esp the marzipan ones.

I’ve only had their cakes but never thought it was all that fantastic. Don’t get me wrong, it’s better than your grocery cakes, but it’s also not swoon worthy.

I recall that a lot of the recipes were handed down from the mother of Jane’s husband - both who were/are Brits. It seems Brits tend to lean harder on/favor flavors on the sweet side.

I think when SLJ and Susina were part of a handful of LA bakeries that offered goods that were noticeably better than the typical supermarket fare, these better bakeries were worth seeking out. But the past five to seven years have been great for consumers wishing for better stuff. It seems just about every part of LA now has at least a few noteworthy bakeries of one kind or another, and those that were the standard bearers are for the most part now being relegated to second string. It’s so competitive now and we are benefiting from it.


Very sad. Is there a good write up or podcast that talks through exactly why it is so hard to run a restaurant in LA?


I assume the “in the state of California” was not an incidental comment, so it doesn’t seem the issue is limited to LA for them.

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They only had LA locations. Who knows what went on… but they had some pretty strong expansion plans. The place on Larchmont seemed to be opening soon!

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There was also one in set to open in MDR. Interesting that it is companywide, not just a retrenchment.


Expansion is a common factor in restaurants going out of business. Their Locations page shows they had two new branches in the works plus one of the six existing locations closed for renovations.

In addition to all of this, why the need for so many locations in relatively close proximity? It’s almost like CPK…

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Does a sudden closure like this violate the WARN Act since SLJ may have had more than 100 FT employees?

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Only if they had 50 or more employees at any of the locations, so probably not.

bye-bye oreo cheesecake.

Bakery employees were notified of the closure on New Year’s Day according to an email obtained by KTLA 5. The email also explained that employees will be paid their regular wages through Jan. 5, which also includes any unused PTO. They are also being offered a severance package.

This other TV news spot says at one location they didn’t even bring in the chairs, tables, and umbrellas, just put a note on the door that they were closed.

Seems like there must be more to the story behind the sudden closure than just not wanting to raise prices. In 2006, the Olsen twins invested $2 million, and not long afterward SLJ started a wholesale operation in Silverlake, but that address is now Bub & Grandma’s.


yikes! a good friend of mine from art school has been designing/decorating cakes there for decades…last time we got together (more than a few years ago) was at the Melrose location for lunch and he was showing me the cakes he was working on… so sad…


Oh, I took much of the goodbye statement w/ a grain of salt. IMHO, it seemed very self serving and left a very bad taste in my mouth.

Reading that the gave their employees essentially no notice only gives me more reason to dislike the company.

Based on just the statement and references to expansion here, I assume they had investors who wanted to aggressively (and unnecessarily) expand the business who ultimately didn’t want to deal w/ the inc’d mininum wage, a la Pizza Hut and their delivery drivers.


“We didn’t want to raise prices” seems like bullshit. Costs go up, you raise prices. If profits go down too much, then maybe you decide to close.

If they started and closed a wholesale operation, that suggests to me that they took on too much debt.


Does it also suggest a bankruptcy filing is imminent?

Not necessarily. Depending on how it’s structured they could just close the business and walk away.