‘Sweet Lady Jane’ back on the Blvd.

| March 28, 2024 | 0 Comments

CatBird opens, Larchmont Jewelers plans for early April

NEW SWEET LADY JANE owners Julie Ngu and Matt Clark at the Santa Monica location.

Sweet Lady Jane has been in the news quite a bit in recent months. First, because new stores were in the works, then because all locations were suddenly closed. The latest news is that new owners have swept in to bring the beloved bakery back.

Now, as the Larchmont Chronicle is going to print, the upscale bakery is scheduled to open at the end of March. New co-owner Julie Ngu is very excited, telling us, “We are so happy to be part of the neighborhood. You forget you’re in Los Angeles [when you’re on the Boulevard]. It’s a little escape,” she said.

When we spoke with Ngu, she was full of energy and gratitude. Thank goodness,  because the business owner has a lot on her plate, or should we say, in her oven. Ngu is the CEO of Pacific French Bakery, a bakery her parents founded 40 years ago, which specializes in breads and pastries. And now, she is the proud co-owner of the six  Sweet Lady Jane locations.

Long a dream

Ngu told us this is a dream come true for her. “When it’s a dream, it doesn’t feel like work,” she said. The owner plans to be at one of the stores working side-by-side with her team every day. “I am a baker’s daughter. It’s common for us to be at work before the sun comes up and to stay until the sun goes down,” she said.

Ngu truly did grow up in a bakery. “It was my babysitter,” she told us. When she was a child, her job was to hold the baguette bags while someone slid in the bread. “I loved it!” she said.

So how did Ngu go from 17 years of full-time work at Pacific French Bakeries to owning Sweet Lady Jane? “I was in college, and my cousin brought home one of these cakes for a celebration, and I was like, ‘This is great!’” The cake was, of course, from Sweet Lady Jane. Ngu told us that, after that bite, she sought the bakery out and, when she walked into the Melrose location, she was transported into a European café. “It was adorable! The variety was incredible, and everything there was made from scratch. I said to myself, ‘One day, I’m going to have a bakery like this.’”

At that time, Ngu told us, she was living on ramen and chips. It’s now 20 years later and… ta-da! The new owner told us that, when she first called to inquire about buying Sweet Lady Jane, the response was, “Who are you?” But she knew the prior owner didn’t want Sweet Lady Jane to go to waste. The name was too precious. “We wanted them to believe in us. We kept saying, ‘We can do this… I’m good at this,’” she said.

Triple Berry Cake

When asked if the former owners have been to any of the locations since the reopenings, Ngu responded in the affirmative. They visited the Santa Monica location and got none other than the store’s famous Triple Berry Cake. “It tastes the same,” Ngu assured us. “I’m not touching that! It’s an iconic recipe!” While that delicate cake is her favorite, the new owner told us her second fave is either the cherry pie or the walnut brownie cookie. “I was diligent about trying everything  with and without frosting, warm and not warm. All these details [are important],” she told us.


When asked what the Larchmont location will be like, Ngu said she’s smiling from ear to ear thinking of opening Sweet Lady Jane on the Boulevard. “It’s smaller, but [the area is] so alive! Larchmont is a little village,” she said. Ngu told us that there is no space to put tables inside, but she hopes to work with the city to see about having some outdoor tables. There will be drinks available, and she and her partner are trying to get some other items in and review the menu. Before the pandemic, Sweet Lady Jane had expanded its menu in some locations to include sandwiches, wraps, salads and soup. After some time has passed, Ngu said she may look into having items like that as to-go offerings. The new owners are happy to receive suggestions from the community. “I’m open ears and open heart for whatever the community asks for,” she said.

Julie Ngu told us that her partner Matt Clark and she are side-by-side in this endeavor. While she spoke to us, Clark was out making cake deliveries. “It’s pretty amazing when you have a partner in crime in all aspects of your life,” Ngu said. The two focus on quality and want to make sure every cake that leaves their stores puts a smile on people’s faces. Ngu sure has a smile on hers. “I want to stress that dreams really do come true. Don’t give up on them!” she said.


PATRONS enjoy Catbird’s opening party.

Sweet Lady Jane isn’t the only shop opening on the Boulevard this spring. Catbird NYC opened in early March at 124 ½ N. Larchmont Blvd. The woman-run business sells fine jewelry that, according to the store’s website, is made with over 95 percent recycled 14K gold and recycled diamonds. Catbird celebrated with a launch party a week after officially opening. Many stopped by to check out the jewelry and enjoy complimentary pizza and Alec’s ice cream, then walked away happily with free bouquets from Blue Pansy Floral Design Company.

LARCHMONT JEWELERS is readying for its opening expected this month.

There also has been a lot of work going on at 119 N. Larchmont Blvd., the new Larchmont Jewelers location. Caren Ho, director of marketing at Hing Wa Lee Jewelers, told us the team is targeting an opening day sometime in the first week of April.

And, though many miss Le Petit Greek at 127 N. Larchmont Blvd., we know that local residents Dimitris, Nora and Nicholas Houndalas are welcoming longtime customers (and new ones!) at their nearby Greek Eats at 8236 W. Third St. In the meantime, two other local residents, Phil Rosenthal of Netflix’s “Somebody Feed Phil” and chef Nancy Silverton, co-owner of Osteria Mozza, plan to open a diner called Max and Helen’s (after Rosenthal’s parents) in the former Le Petit Greek space this summer. This will be Rosenthal’s first time as a restaurant owner; previously he participated as an investor. He envisions an affordable, community-centered diner where people can take the time to chat and get to know each other while eating.

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Category: Entertainment

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