Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
May 19, 2010 05:25 PM

Sweet Lady Jane opening on Montana

Saw a sign on an empty storefront at 17th and Montana that SLJ is coming. Hope they bring a good attitude to Santa Monica.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I saw that, too.

    Montana is getting depressing. Every other storefront is vacant. So, anything that brings life back to that street would be great.

    1. No kidding, right Maudie5?? Keep us informed if you hear anything.

      They are good, but pricey. Uber pricey. And I agree w/Azizeh, Montana is very depressed lately. So is my little village in the Palisades. We have landlords who are very picky and jsut raised the rent on the leases, so many places have folded. They had it good for 20+ years, now it's time to pay the piper, I suppose.

      1. I first discovered the Chowhound forums over three years ago when I Googled "Sweet Lady Jane" to see if anyone else had ever had the same awful service I had experienced. Here's my first CH post ever, on a thread that has since grown to 178 replies:

        (I didn't mention in the above post, but for several years after they first opened I lived across the street from them. What happened to me was by no means an isolated occurrence.


        SLJ may or may not have great baked goods -- I wouldn't know as I haven't been there in over three years. But clearly they have set a standard for deliberate and callous bad service. I don't use those words lightly -- no business could possibly experience that degree of public negative feedback without being aware of what their customers think of them.

        It occurs to me that there's some poetic symmetry in the fact that they're expanding six blocks from Father's Office.

        2 Replies
        1. re: maxzook

          Excellent point, MZ!! As you may or may not know, I am no fan of FO. And my only experience with SLJ has been while working for a caterer who used to use her for baked goods, but I am certainly in no rush to take my business to them.

          1. re: maxzook

            I went t SLJ once years ago with a friend after she raved about the place. The food was only decent but the service was so bad that I've never been back

          2. Fantastic! Now we get to see if the poisonous way they treat their customers is endemic to the brand, or merely a knock-on effect of undetectable noxious fumes at the Melrose location.

            14 Replies
            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              LOL! Remember, FO Is just down the street as well, so that toxic cloud may also have found its way there... LOL!

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                The Melrose SLJ is on the site of the original Ma Maison, so I think we can rule out the groundwater.

                1. re: maxzook

                  Sweet Lady Jane and Father's Office--two compelling arguments for steering clear of Montana Avenue!

                  1. re: farmertomato

                    I agree, won't be taking my business there in the future.

                    1. re: Phurstluv

                      I'm definitely giving them the benefit of the doubt at the new location and hopefully they won't disappoint me. That said, we have so many great bakeries now in Santa Monica/Venice (Huckleberry, Bite Bar, Sweet Rose Creamery, Rockenwagner, Anisette for pastries) that they have some very stiff competition.

                      Sweet Rose Creamery
                      225 26th St #51, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                      1. re: mollyomormon

                        Yes we do, and I just don't want to bother with giving them the chance, someone else can take it, as you know I have a very low tolerance for shitty service!! ;))

                        1. re: Phurstluv

                          I hate bad service as well, but since I've never had it at Father's Office, I keep going!

                          Father's Office Bar
                          1618 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA

                          1. re: mollyomormon

                            I also have had consistently good service at both 17th St. Cafe and R+D Kitchen (even thought R+D is slammed every time we go, once we get seated the service has been very good to excellent).

                            17th St Cafe
                            1610 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                            R+D Kitchen
                            1323 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                            1. re: mollyomormon

                              I'll second that! Funny how a SLJ thread turns into another excuse to bash FO! One of the nicest individuals that I ever met was the beer sommelier/manager at the SM FO 2 yrs ago. Taught me a lot about Belgian and U.S. craft beer all for the price of a beer and a burger!

                              1. re: sel

                                I so rarely hear of actual incidents where people received poor service there; rather, it's generally just vague allegations (often from people who have never actually been) because they won't allow substitutions.

                          2. re: mollyomormon

                            I'm willing to give them a chance to set their own course as well. They have the best lemon meringue pie I've tried, and when their cakes are on, they're pretty darned good as well.

                            I'm hoping that they grasp the notion that the vast majority of folks in the Westside are pretty jaded when it comes to celebrities. "Brangelina in the store!" "Eh, so what - tell them to keep the line moving - gotta hit the 10 before 4:30 if I'm going to have any chance of making it to the Bowl for my picnic..." :)

                            1. re: bulavinaka

                              There's always hope.....but I guess I'm a little jaded ;)

                              Sounds more like the owners consider themselves part of that celebrity culture, of which I don't want any part.

                              1. re: Phurstluv

                                They've had a reputation of embracing celebrities while casting off others who would otherwise be regulars. Celebrity is created by the public perceiving that one is special in one way or another. Standing in the shadow of a celebrity is a whole different matter. I gather that SLJ is counting on "The Ivy" effect, where celebs frequent the place because celebs frequent the place. And because celebs frequent the place, those who want to see celebs will follow. They're treated like fodder, but they still come any way.

                                SLJ does some things very well, but as Mollyo has already mentioned, there's some pretty serious pros here in the Westside for this kind of stuff. Once we start considering Amandine as being second tier for croissants for instance, SLJ could be in a serious cat fight for respectability.

                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                  I'm not casting any aspersions on FO. It isn't the best burger, but I've enjoyed my burgers and beer there, I know about the ketchup rule and the substitution rule, and honestly I didn't get treated shabbily, just hyperefficiently, like the countermen at Katz's.