It’s not often that I get to preview a much-hyped bakery, and it’s also not often I get to complain about local busybody community residents, but I’m proud to announce that I’ll be doing both in this humble post. The setup is simple. My friend Jenny, a.k.a The Dessert Darling, emailed me full of excitement, perhaps stemming from a sugar high (she eats many cupcakes for her site), to alert me that the famed Magnolia Bakery was finally opening up a Los Angeles outpost this Friday. Did I want to join on opening day for a cupcake or two?

I’m not one to turn down cupcakes; so obviously, I said yes. We eventually agreed to meet this afternoon, and after braving through some intense midday traffic, no thanks to the ill-timed stoplights on Fairfax, I finally made my way to Magnolia. I was immediately shocked by the lack of customers. There always seems to be a secret Mommy newsletter that goes out every time a cupcake shop opens in Los Angeles, and as such, I just assumed there’d be lines (not to mention balloons) up the wazoo. There were none. All I found was an empty bakery with no one but Jenny.

Well, it wasn’t just Jenny. The owner of all the Magnolia Bakeries was there too. This was kind of like meeting Ben of Ben & Jerry’s. Turns out that there’s a ton of red tape to navigate through when opening a business, and because of said bureaucracy, Magnolia’s opening day had to be pushed off to the next day. That’s right: no cupcakes today.

The owner took pity on us though, and he happily supplied Jenny and I with the shop’s world famous banana pudding. Let me tell you — I’m not a banana pudding guy. It’s fine — don’t get me wrong — but I always gravitate towards chocolate desserts (particularly when talking about pudding). Well, chocolate biases be damned. This pudding was tasty. Very tasty. Heck, I’m fairly certain it just dethroned Baby Blues Barbeque for banana pudding king of the city.

The famed banana pudding.

Dessert Darling gives the pudding a taste…

Approved, clearly.

Even better, since Jenny and I were tasting this pudding, this meant we had exclusive bragging rights to say that we were the first food bloggers to sample the wares at LA’s Magnolia Bakery. And in the end, who cares about reviews? It’s all about bragging (although, technically, I believe Eater LA got there before us, but we’ll just ignore that. Or rather, we’ll just say we were part of the “First Wave.”)

Dessert Darling basking in the emptiness of the bakery.

General enthusiasm. My shirt is alarmingly red in this picture.

Jenny with the owner of Magnolia. He’s like THE MAYOR OF MAGNOLIAVILLE. He also has outposts in NY (obvs) and Dubai. Chicago is en route.

As Jenny and I chowed down on our complimentary dessert, we learned from someone else who had wandered into the shop that the reason why Magnolia had to delay its opening is because there apparently is a major shakedown going on with the local businesses on third street. This is where the scandal happens.

First, let me just preface what I’m about to say with this: I’ve received this information from only one source, and I really cannot speak to its veracity. However, I like to think that rumor is fact, and furthermore, I’m a blogger, not a journalist; so who cares? It’s a fun yarn no matter what.

So here’s the deal.

Allegedly there’s a cabal of about four older ladies who pitch a fight every single time a new business opens on Third Street. Their complaint is that the new business will kill the old business — sort of the usual crabbiness from old ladies who have nothing better to do than butt their heads into civic affairs. However, there’s a twist. These women are ardently against new shops opening up, and they make life hell for anyone trying do business or receive permits. The new deli down the street has had to apply for permits three times, and they’ve been sued three times by these ladies.

The only thing allegedly that shuts them up, it seems, is cold hard cash. Yes, the word is that unless these ladies are paid off, they just push the red tape on the business owners trying to make things happen. The head lady even received a condo in Palm Desert curiously on the same day that The Grove broke ground several years ago.


When I heard this, I immediately asked why the planning boards and various city agencies dealing with this crap don’t just dismiss the claims from these women. After all, doesn’t it get tiresome to hear the same complaint over and over again? Well, it turns out that the head lady (a.k.a the one with the condo in Palm Desert) is friends with the local Councilman’s wife. And furthermore, she sits on some Democratic nomination board and holds some political sway in the community. I know I could not make this sound more vague, but please understand that I was taking in these details while simultaneously enjoying banana pudding.

The point is that the head old lady is well connected, and as such, she has free reign to extort these businesses for money. The women are like the Mafia, except more mothbally. Case in point, here’s a threatening letter they allegedly left on the car of a Magnolia Bakery employee:


So why do I care so much? Well, I’m still smarting over my experience with the West Hollywood Planning Commission two years ago. That experience revealed to me how idiotic and entitled local neighbors can be, often at the expense of the greater community at large. These assholes represent a small minority of the community and shouldn’t be able to dictate which businesses come into town, nor should they be able to call the shots on how late they can and cannot be open. Should the accusations about these old women on Third Street be true, then that’s just another example of small-minded ninnies digging their heels into the ground (with the added touch of ILLEGAL BRIBERY) and making hell for the surrounding population.

Rah rah rah!

Fight the old ladies!!!

Oh, and visit Magnolia Bakery too!

26 replies on “MAGNOLIA BAKERY PREVIEW: Pudding & Scandal!”

  1. Who would think a bunch of grandmas would be hindering people from eating delectable sweets… I thought grandmas encouraged such things. Blasphemy!

  2. Having had extensive experience in my former job with, ahem, people wanting to “get involved” with their neighborhood planning or community development, I can say one thing for certain: old people go to meetings. Crazy people, too. The way neighborhood/city meetings are depicted on Parks and Rec is admirably accurate. So these old ‘n crazy folks (who do, indeed, all KNOW each other and are often friends with electeds) influence local governance and policy more than the 20-somethings tweeting about how they wish there was better bus service.

    I’m not sure if there’s a point to this comment. Except that old rich people rule the streets with their sheer unwillingness to accept change.

  3. Good for you!!! Thank you so much for filling everybody in about the 3rd st situation..finally! You put a voice to all of the whispered rumors.

  4. Their organization is a complete sham. They claim to represent tens of thousands of members on their website. In reality, I’ve seen only about 5 of their numb-skulls snooping around the neighborhood putting BWHA parking tickets up and down Croft. Is that even legal??? I’ve lived on Croft for 32 years and have heard the stories that are attached to these people.

  5. Off topic and totally shallow, How does DessertDarling look so good if she is eating all these cupcakes? It’s just wrong!

    1. I was thinking the same thing!
      Kind of along the lines of never trust a skinny chef…

  6. I thought for sure that this was going to be a British-type place which called dessert “pudding”. I’m glad I was wrong. I LOVE banana pudding. It has to have vanilla wafers though. Without those, it’s just pudding. But the wafers add a different texture and make it even yummier!!

    I can’t believe no one’s taken a whack to those little old ladies’ shins…

  7. Wow- a crossover between b-side and passive aggressive notes– that is blog heaven. Over on passive aggressive notes there is a lot of discussion about who can park where and who owns the streets (because, yes, people leave a lot of passive aggressive notes on cars!). Unless there is a residential sticker system (we have that in some neighborhoods in DC) anyone can park anywhere on any damn residential street they want to, even for work. In fact, we have a federal agency not far from here and the feds take up spots in the neighboring shopping plaza and in some of the neighboring residential streets. Is it different out in CA? Aren’t you west coast folks supposed to be more relaxed, what with the palm trees and sun and all that?

    1. Here in L.A., parking is fair game– for the city. Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Downtown L.A., fuggettaboutit! Residentially speaking, permit restrictions are abundant and residents are protective. The scenario described in the post sounds about right for that neck of the woods. 4 old biddies shaking down (hot/trendy/profitable/large/small) businesses on the Westside in L.A.? Gangsta. I see a network of them with their children and grandchildren strategically placed in government to help push and carry through the old biddys club’s agenda. Do I smell a new BRAVO series?

      1. I would watch that. As it got more confrontational they could use Hell’s Angels as bodyguards.

  8. I ALWAYS find happiness in the the fact I know I will out live old people like this. And I OFTEN pray I never become a person like this, not accepting new things and different points of view. Besides, most old people stink.

  9. The problem is that some dining establishments lie &(pay off the city) to get permits when they are supposed to have a certain amount of parking spaces for off site/valet parking and don’t. Valets also hijack meters by using something illegal to fail the meters. So this effects the non-dining businesses & force people to valet. The magnolia space was a dry cleaners beforehand & I don’t know how they were able to convert it. There are some more vocal people in the community & some people are overzealous, but I’d you lived in one of these areas u would see there are problems.

    1. Awe Gigi, don’t you get it? This has everything to do with drinking at the pool past 1130 too. Now the banana pudding is being hijacked by old ladies who have no other life than policing cars on the street. Couldn’t they just help the poor or do something for the arts?

  10. that shirt is the same one you wore to your Sushi Night!!! Mix it up B!

    1. acutally, to be more accurate (that is, chronological), the Sushi Night shirt is the same one you wore on your Magnolia Bakery trip.

  11. Not the whole story. Magnolia is entitled to open up as a bakery with no parking. If they want to have seats inside, making them like a restaurant, the City requires parking on site. Magnolia wanted a dozen or so seats inside, and they also wanted about 30 more on the sidewalk. (The City doesn’t require parking for outdoor dining, yet.) They don’t have any parking on site, so they tried to get a variance for parking through the Universal Valet, but the Valet program won’t let them lease parking if they don’t get parking for the outdoor seats too. They were denied their variance over the parking. This was the City, not the old ladies.

    And the Deli, Ratners, is changing the use of a property from retail to restaurant, again with no parking. That means a property that formerly needed only 3 spaces now needs 30. Everybody knows 3rd Street Parking is a clusterf**k, including the Ratners people. It took them forever to get their parking ducks in a row. I am not an old lady yet, but I think a deli/restaurant/bar that wants to be open ’til 4 in the morning should have a place for their customers to park. They got their Permit, so can they please stop whining now?

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