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Sticky Buns

I'm craving, or I believe what I crave is, sticky buns. Not cinnamon rolls, but gooey, pecan-topped sticky buns that are full of brown sugar, buttery goodness. Some say they originate in Philadelphia. All I know is that I don't think I've ever had one, and yet, somehow, I crave it. I've had that delicious sticky bun cake they serve as an amuse bouche at Jar, but I'd like to find individual sticky buns so I may sit on a bench somewhere and stuff my face whilst watching Los Angeles pass me by.

So, what say you, 'Hounds? Bakeries or restaurants in the greater L.A. area that make good sticky buns?

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  1. I've been craving the same thing. My grandma made them, my mom made them, and they taught my wife to make them. And yet, because they're time consuming, messy, and frankly, a pain to make, my wife just won't make them at my request. But maybe you can convince her, to the delight of both of us. Much better than anything found in any bakery on earth, in my opinion.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ganeden

      I'm actually looking for sticky buns in order to decide if I want to make them, myself. And if they match your Platonic ideal, I'll let you know.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        Didn't know they sold 'em there. Thanks!

      2. I consider myself a pecan sticky bun aficionado and the ones at Urth downtown are very good.

        1. I love these myself, and make them from time to time. Like doughnuts and chocolate chip cookies, though, I prefer them to be fairly recently out of the oven. Are any of these places spots where I can get them still hot & fresh?

          1. Never knew the origin of sticky buns, but it makes sense to me that they would come from Philadelphia. Both of my parents grew up there and my entire family loves them! Some of my fondest childhood memories are of waking up to the smell of sea air and sticky buns while at my grandparents summer house on the Jersey Shore on Long Beach Island -- a favorite beach spot for Philadelphians. So since a trip to my favorite bakery on LBI is probably not an option, I have to say that the sticky buns at Panera aren't a bad substitute.

            3 Replies
            1. re: pasadena8696

              Are Panera's even made with the requisite brioche? My memory says no.

              1. re: JAB

                I don't know, JAB, but Panera's bagels certainly aren't authentic.

                1. re: Dogbite Williams

                  As luck would have it, a few days after posting my response, I was visiting family in the Midwest who had just flown home from Philadelphia with the real thing! Or at least my personal version of "the real thing!" Definitely a step above Panera's version. However, Panera's sticky buns are much closer to the real thing than their bagels are to good NY bagels. But I digress.....

                  I'm not sure whether Panera's buns are make with brioche, but your question made me curious about whether it's a requirement of good sticky buns! I'm not much of a baker, but the baker who was chosen for Bobby Flay's sticky bun throwdown uses a recipe that is based on brioche. Here's a link:


                  However, a quick Google search reveals another school of thought -- or perhaps, just a quicker approach:


            2. Sunday brunch at Jar (which is spectacular) starts with a big wedge of freshly baked sticky bun, brought to your table gratis! It's like a free sticky bun amuse. (Damn, just typing those words makes me feel happy.)

              Jar Restaurant
              8225 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048

              4 Replies
              1. re: David Kahn

                Just made res for brunch this Sunday! If it's good, I might ask to buy some extras!

                1. re: a213b

                  Sigh ... as great as dinner has been at Jar, that's how mediocre Brunch was. We had a 10:30 res, so the place was fairly empty and quiet when we arrived. Service was solid, though not spectacular, but it's the food I was there for.

                  Pot Roast Hash was just simply not good. It suffered from a lack of seasoning (both my wife and I agreed). This was really disappointing since I grew up on this type of hash. It was a large portion, but that does one no good when it's not good.

                  Corn Pancakes were good, not spectacular, but solid., Griddled in butter, these are definitely not lighter fare, but they were good.

                  Lastly, the reason for coming ... the wedge of sticky bun. Yawwwwnnnnn .... boring! First of all, I thought it would come out hot and fresh. While freshly made, it was room-temp to cool, which was disappointing. Add to that the fact that there was nothing "sticky" about it, no notes of cinnamon/cardamom, this was one of the poorest expressions of a sticky bun I've seen in quite some time. More like a brioche with some pecans ... I can see them doing it this way since it's taking the place of a bread plate, and I am sure they do not want to serve something too heavy to start, but I'm just disappointed since I was expecting an actual sticky bun.

                  Sigh ... for me, brunch at Jar is an "Easily Miss"; dinner, on the other hand, remains a must hit.

                  1. re: a213b

                    So sorry you didn't enjoy. I have had absolutely great meals every time I have had brunch at Jar (maybe a dozen times all together), and love (!) the pot roast hash in particular. (Fwiw, like my friend and mentor, Tom Armitage, I adore hash (the food kind at least) in pretty much all its forms, and order it almost whenever I see it on a menu.) Not sure if we just have different tastes, which is always possible, or maybe they had an off morning? (Perhaps Chef Tracht is in a funk after having narrowly missed the final rounds of Top Chef Masters.) Agree that (like everything) the sticky bun might be better hot, but I have always liked that it is a bit restrained and not too sweet.

                    1. re: David Kahn

                      I, too, order hash pretty much wherever I see it, and having enjoyed her Pot Roast several times for dinner, I was really looking forward to it -- hence my great disappointment when I did have it. Again, it really needed some more seasoning, but as you said this could very well have just been an off morning.

                      For what it's worth, my wife did very much enjoy the "Sticky" Bun, mentioning reasons similar to yours, which I touched on when I said I get it as it's a replacement for a lunch/dinner bread plate. I can acknowledge that it was well made, and in truth it's better than I made it out to sound ... I think I was just bummed it wasn't a hot, gooey classic sticky bun.

                      All of this being said, I will happily head back for dinner, though it might be awhile before I head back to try it again for brunch.

              2. I have had the Sticky Buns at the Erth Cafe on Melrose, probably a dozen times. They are some of the best I've had!

                1. Sweet Jill's in Belmont Shores on 2nd Street.

                  1. Canele in Atwater Village has one of the best pecan sticky buns I've ever had - fresh, hot and flaky. So far everything I've had from there for brunch has been outstanding.

                    The ones you get at the freezer section in Trader Joe's are also pretty darn good for a shortcut...

                    1. Tavern had a terrific pecan sticky bun this morning.