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A street view of the exterior window of DTLA Cheese Superette in downtown Los Angeles.
DTLA Cheese Superette is the expanded version of the beloved Grand Central Market stall, which closed in late April.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

What’s a superette? 12 unbearably cute markets to shop in L.A.

When I want to escape the horrors of the world, I spend an afternoon browsing the highly curated selection of snacks, wine and pantry goods at one of a growing number of superettes around town. You know, the mini markets that tout tinned fish, artisanal sweets, chile crisp and tea towels?

My eyes play ping pong from one product to the next, with no shortage of things to ogle. Stuff and more stuff. Most of it is edible. I want it all.

There’s usually a case with prepared food that I can pick up for later. And if I’m lucky, a freezer stocked with even more items. They’re small markets but also cafes, with selections of their own branded goods. Each has a specific aesthetic and its own vibe.

These shops are aspirational. They tell me that my life could be polished, sane and significantly better if I could just buy one of everything in here.


I’ve watched as a handful of superettes opened in just the last few months, with the new Cookbook market and cafe in Larchmont, and just down the street, Suá, described on its website as “your local Sichuan superette.”

DTLA Cheese at Grand Central Market became DTLA Cheese Superette in Downtown L.A. earlier this year. My favorite shop in all of Pasadena is a mini market called Altadena Beverage and Market, where you can find Harry’s Berries while they’re in season, good Normandy butter, a selection of snacks to swoon over and weekend sandwiches from Austin Boos.

The hybrid mini market and eatery is a business model that DTLA Cheese Superette co-owner Reed Herrick thinks is more reflective of today’s consumers and the realities of running a traditional restaurant.

“It’s hard to open a restaurant,” Herrick says, standing in front of the cheese case at the downtown shop, located at the corner of South Broadway and 4th Street. “We want to cook but we have to be able to showcase what we do in a different way and be broader.”

When Herrick and partner Lydia Clarke moved to their current space, they continued to offer the cheese selection they’re known for alongside Herrick’s menu of excellent salads, grilled cheese sandwiches and soups. The bread case near the register is something to marvel at, with towering golden baguettes and sandwiches made with the fresh breads. But they also introduced produce, a case filled with prepared frozen foods and a wide array of pantry goods.


It’s a restaurant, but it’s also a one-stop shop for your week’s groceries or that housewarming or birthday gift you need to pick up after work.

“It’s the way people shop nowadays,” he says. “They need to be enticed by a lot of little different things. And if you’re going to spend a lot of money at Ralphs or Whole Foods, why not spend it at a mom-and-pop shop that really cares about every product on the shelf?”

At Suá, there’s an entire section devoted to Fly by Jing products made by co-owner Jing Gao. It’s her full line of condiments and spices, her cookbook and hot pot starter sets complete with the branded hot pots.

Containers of kung pao chicken, cold sesame noodles, cucumber salad and whole rotisserie chickens fill a well-lit refrigerated case.

It’s all presented in a bright, open space surrounded by blonde wood and clean lines. Is the shop always flooded with sunlight? I could use the interior to start a Pinterest board for my dream home.


“But what’s a superette?” Julie Campoy asks during a recent call. Campoy is the owner of Julienne Fine Foods and Celebrations in San Marino.

Decades before superette was a buzz word, Julienne Fine Foods and Celebrations and Joan’s on Third in Beverly Grove helped introduce the gourmet market and cafe model to Los Angeles diners. The deli cases at each, stocked with premade salads and proteins, trump the cases at your local Erewhon.

“I love it!” Campoy says. “I love that you can find all sorts of things and that it’s very curated and definitely the owner’s vision. The more the merrier.”

Campoy’s mother Susan opened Julienne Fine Foods and Celebrations in 1985. It started as mostly a catering operation with some prepared items for sale and a small seating area with five tables. In 1992, the Campoy family took over the two adjacent storefronts and built out the kitchen areas and the gourmet market. You could sit down for a full service meal, then shop for later.


Growing up in the Pasadena area, I frequented Julienne, and always wanted to live in the market. With display shelves that look like they belong in a French country kitchen, plenty of lush greenery and even a fireplace mantle in the back, I always felt like I was in Europe somewhere, in the home of someone glamorous.

“It evolved organically,” Campoy says. “In the 90s, things were changing on a socioeconomic level and more woman were going back to work and there was a need for prepared foods.”

By 2000, Susan had decided to scale back on catering and double down on the prepared foods with the installation of the shop’s freezers. They also started selling merchandise, wines and even CDs.

“My mom would say we’re not a soap store and we’re not a CD store,” Campoy says. “But I was like yes we are. We would play music and people would say they loved it so we sold the CDs.”


Campoy took over Julienne after her mother died in 2009. She navigated the business through the pandemic, selling produce boxes, toilet paper and pantry goods that were impossible to find at the larger grocery store chains. But the real lifesaver, for both the business and its loyal customers, was the refrigerated, freezer and deli cases full of prepared foods.

“Prepared food is about 65 to 70% of our business,” Campoy says. “It might look like a small operation from the front, but we have 60 employees who make 200 items a day from scratch.”

The business has transitioned into more of something in line with the newer superettes, operating as an order at the counter and takeout cafe alongside the market.

“I decided that the full service restaurant had run its course for many different business reasons, so I had to reimagine everything,” she says.


Now, she offers tea service and formal dinners just on Thursday nights. But she’s hoping to introduce more experiences in the new year, with wine tastings, wreath making and partnerships with other people in the community to help utilize the restaurant patio.

“I’ve always loved Julienne,” says Joan McNamara, standing in the middle of the Joan’s on Third on 3rd Street.

Her black and white shop has been a prepared foods mecca for Angelenos for decades, known best for her Chinese chicken salad and short rib grilled cheese, her bakery case and the Joan’s packaged snacks that include cheese straws and potato chips.

It’s the type of place where if you request something, you might just see it on the menu tomorrow.


“Last week we had a couple of people ask for chicken noodle soup,” McNamara says. “People have colds, we should make it every day. So I told the kitchen to make chicken noodle soup through February.”

McNamara opened Joan’s on Third in 1995 as a small market. In 1998, she expanded into the space next door, building out the kitchen and a proper deli case. Being from New York City, McNamara says that the original Dean and Deluca, which opened in Soho in 1977, was one of her inspirations. The other was Julienne Fine Foods and Celebrations.

“Susan had such beautiful products,” McNamara says. “I would go on these spy missions and measure where things were and write them down because I just thought everything looked so beautiful.”

The two women eventually became friends and would end up calling each other to compare prices for items or to chit chat over the years.


Like Campoy, McNamara treats her shop as her own Pinterest board, personally selecting every item on the shelves. The same goes for the prepared foods in the refrigerated case along the left wall of the shop, where you’ll find everything from condiments to composed meals and salads.

“Whenever the kitchen is making a big batch of something they bring me a little spoon so I can taste it,” she says. “Everything is tasted.”

And like Campoy, McNamara is excited by all the new superettes opening around town, but she says she’s always looking to evolve the business. Her next venture is frozen foods, with a growing collection of entrees, flatbreads and sauces along the left wall of the shop.

“This place is home for me, and I want it to be home for everyone,” she says. “And now, everyone can have a part of Joan’s on Third in their freezer.”


Here’s a guide and shopping list for discovering L.A.’s superettes, new and old:

Showing  Places
A variety of picnic items from Altadena Beverage and Market and Armen Market in Pasadena.
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Altadena Beverage & Market

Altadena Grocer $$
This mini market may be my favorite shop in all of Pasadena. It’s where you can find Harry’s Berries while they’re in season, good Normandy butter, a selection of snacks to swoon over and weekend sandwiches from Austin Boos. Owners Kate and Adam Vourvoulis are also behind Good Luck wine shop and Vin de California winery in East Pasadena. There’s an emphasis on natural wines but don’t be intimidated. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable and more than happy to make a recommendation. And if you’re looking for more prepared items to round out your shopping trip, you’ll find fresh produce, baklava and more at Armen Market across the street.
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Some items from Carla's Fresh Market including mushroom chips and chili crisp.
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Carla's Fresh Market

Highland Park American $$
Carla’s feels the most like an actual market, a big open space lined with refrigerated cases with drinks, dairy products and frozen treats. There’s a small selection of produce, meat and a coffee bar with bread from Bub and Grandma’s. There’s Canyon Coffee, Nopalera soap and good olive oil. The selection of tinned fish is smaller than some other places, but you’ll most likely come away with a handful of things you didn’t know you needed. Those crunchy mushroom chips next to the bag of biltong? And that obscure bottle of chili crisp? I’ll take both.
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A hand holds up a wheel of cheese in front of a fridge that says SUPERETTE at DTLA Cheese Superette.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

DTLA Cheese Superette

Downtown L.A. Grocer Cheese Shop $$
I don’t think I’ve ever visited without ordering one of Reed Herrick’s leafy greens salads. It’s a mix of green and sometimes pink lettuces in a sharp shallot vinaigrette. He throws in whatever herbs are available, beans and misshapen boulders of aged cheddar. Let Lydia Clarke take the wheel when it comes to the cheese case. She can match your dairy with wine, a dinner party menu and probably your horoscope if you asked her.

The grilled cheese is superb, as are any of the sandwiches made on the fresh baguettes. From the prepared food items, there’s a log of garlic and herb butter that I now use on everything. And the frozen deli cups of soup make for a great quick lunch. If tinned fish is your jam, there is quite the selection.
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Within David Kuo's 5,000-square-foot Fatty Mart are a range of quick-and-casual food concepts, including stands for pan-Latin foods, Korean dishes, fresh pizzas, and coffee and pastries.
(Robert Campbell/Fatty Mart)

Fatty Mart

Mar Vista International Coffee Grocer $$
Filling 5,000 square feet with shelves, freezers, a coffee bar and food counters serving up breakfast, banh mi sandwiches, rice bowls, birria and mapo tofu pizzas, Fatty Mart takes the model pioneered by spots such as Joan on Third’s and gives it an L.A. spin. From chef David Kuo of nearby Taiwanese restaurant Little Fatty and cocktail bar Accomplice, the mega mart is stocked with items that Kuo enjoys at home, including an international assortment of snacks, hot sauces, prepared foods, beer and wine, often with a focus on Asian flavors. There are 30 to 40 seats for enjoying your goods on site, and the Mar Vista market hosts regular events, such as a dumpling making workshop on Dec. 11.
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The short rib grilled cheese from Joan's on Third.
(Jenn Harris/Los Angeles Times)

Joan's on Third

Beverly Grove Grocer Deli Bakery $$
There’s a reason people love the Chinese chicken salad. The chicken is fried, there are plenty of crunchy fried wontons and that dressing is just the right mix of sweet and vinegary. It’s a meal on its own, but I can never resist the short rib grilled cheese sandwich. The bread is extra buttery and the cheese crisps up along the crust. If I can manage to make it past the hot deli case without being too tempted by the meat loaf or the Brussels sprout salad, this is what I’m ordering.

And don’t miss the frozen food along the left wall of the store. This is where you’ll find everything from beef bourguignon and mashed potatoes to flatbreads and Bolognese. The penne with mushrooms gets bubbly in the microwave, without the pasta overcooking. The beef bourguignon tastes like it’s been on the stove for hours. Stock up.
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The deli case at Julienne Fine Foods and Celebrations in S
(Jenn Harris/Los Angeles Times)

Julienne Fine Foods and Celebration

San Marino Grocer Wine Shop $$
Julie Campoy boasts that the same person has been making the chicken tarragon salad sandwiches for the past 38 years. It tastes the same as when I used to pick one up for lunch on my way to school. The diced chicken is plump and adequately dressed with homemade mayonnaise. There’s enough tarragon in the salad to register a slight licorice taste but just barely, and plenty of celery for crunch. It’s served on the restaurant’s famous rosemary currant bread that’s soft and studded with bits of the sweet dried fruit. Grab a couple to go and don’t miss the bakery counter. The graham cracker chewy bars are like gooey toffee, and the brown butter blondies have a perfectly chewy center and a crisp bottom.
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Lady & Larder's signature cheese and charcuterie board is available in multiple sizes
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Lady & Larder

Santa Monica Cheese Shop $$
This petite cheese shop and superette creates some of the most beautiful and abundant cheese, charcuterie and crudites boards in town. They also make beautiful cakes out of various rounds of cheese. The selection of tinned fish is abundant and you can always find fresh baguettes, butter, olive oil and produce. It’s the type of place where I always buy 30% more than what I had in mind when I walked in, a candle or bottle of wine catching my eye while I wait for my sandwich to arrive. I like to ask what new cheeses are in the shop and typically buy a wedge of whatever I just sampled.
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The produce table at LA Homefarm in Glassell Park.
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

LA Homefarm

Glassell Park Gift Store $$
LA Homefarm is another one of the shops I’d like to live in, or at the very least take home one of everything. It’s a small, cheery market from Lauri Kranz and Dean Kuipers of Edible Gardens L.A. The very front of the store is dedicated to beautiful ceramics, linens and various other tools and home goods. In the center is a table with an abundance of produce sourced from small, local farms, including the couple’s own. And behind it, a full line of LA Homefarm loose leaf teas. My favorite part of the shop may be the grab-and-go selection, where you’ll find cacio e pepe butter and other prepared foods from Funke, salads from Pizza Baby and ice cream from Awan and Mother Moo Creamery. Ok, just take all my money.
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A selection of sandwiches from Milkfarm in Eagle Rock.
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)


Eagle Rock Gift Store $$
It’s a cheese shop that includes a small market with an emphasis on all the things you might want to go along with your cheese. There’s even a section devoted to stuff to serve your cheese on. Have you been thinking about a tray for your raclette? They have one. You can count on a good array of tea towels and Mister Parmesan merch, with hats that say “spaghetti” and “mortadella” across the crowns. And the shop has a small area where you can fill up bottles of olive oil. There’s a short menu of prepared items for takeout or to eat on the few tables outside. My go-to order is usually a ham and brie on a baguette and a Loaf Language black sesame mochi krunchie (located right by the register) for dessert.
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Products from Sesame LA including Omsom dish starter and onion chips.
(Jenn Harris/Los Angeles Times)

Sesame LA

Chinatown Gift Store $$
Owner Linda Sivrican fills her 250-square-foot space in the Chinatown Central Plaza with products primarily made by Asian producers. If you’re in the market for smoked soy sauce, bowls of instant curry ramen, black sesame crunch butter or yuzu mayo, this is the place. It’s a tiny wonderland of Asian condiments and snacks, and so much more. If you’re in need of a gift for someone, or yourself, there’s a few themed gift sets to choose from. The From the Sea package features seaweed snacks, sardines and other sea-inspired products. I’ve got my eye on the banh mi tea towels and the shiitake mushroom chopstick rest for the next time I’m in.
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A selection of food from Suá Superette in Larchmont.
(Jenn Harris/Los Angeles Times)

Suá Superette

Windsor Square Sichuan Grocer $$
A container of the kung pao chicken, some green beans with maitake bacon, the cucumber pickles and crunchy broccoli salad sounds like the ideal lunch. Whatever you choose, just make sure you grab a bottle of the Fly by Jing Chengdu Crunch. Like with Jing Gao’s other condiments, they’re not just hot. The heat is rounded out by a wave of umami from seaweed powder, mushroom powder and shallots. This one is extra crunchy, with bits of crispy fava beans, yellow split peas and pumpkin seeds. I find myself eating it by the spoonful. No rice. Nothing underneath. By itself by myself.
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The Golden Poppy Market in Cypress Park.
(Betty Hallock)

The Golden Poppy Market

Cypress Park Grocer $
Michelle Juliette Carr opened Golden Poppy with her husband, Brian Wotring, two years ago on a stretch of Cypress Avenue where Barra Santos and Shin’s Pizza have since populated the same block. For Carr, the idea of a neighborhood market started in 2008 when she moved back to L.A. from Berlin. Carr’s the former co-owner of the legendary ‘90s coffee house/all-ages punk rock venue Jabberjaw, and her taste in groceries is as great as her taste in music. It finally came to fruition in this light-filled market with, as Carr puts it, a Biba vibe, featuring a charming design motif of poppies in honor of California’s state flower. Plus, “orange is such a happy color,” Carr says.

The store stocks “a full grocery trip” of fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit (organic), sustainably raised meat, dairy, baked goods, dried pasta, dried or canned beans and other pantry items and necessities, plus fresh-cut flowers and more. You can pick up La Palma burritos and Woon dumplings in the freezer case, L’Abeille Diligente honey candies, tinned fish galore, Rao’s pasta sauce, Sunny brand tahini, charcuterie, ready-made sandwiches, even a paella pan. “It’s just everything we like ourselves,” Carr says. Plus, there are tables on both the front and back patios.
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