As the story goes, Philippe Mathieu opened this restaurant in 1908 and was making a sandwich for a customer when he dropped the french roll into the roasting pan still full of hot juices from the meat. The customer said he’d take the sandwich anyways, and liked it so much he brought his friends over for more “dipped sandwiches” the next day. And so the french dipped sandwich was born.
The establishment has retained many of it’s charms from the bygone days: sawdust on the floor, telephone booths in the corner, and people behind the counter dressed like 1920s diner waitresses. That, and I have never seen any other place with 75¢ lemonade, 65¢ iced tea, and 45¢ coffee before. Their menu is extensive and intimidating. The glass counter is filled to the brink with meats, sides, pies, and a variety of other goodies. I ordered three roast beef sandwiches, a couple bowls of soup, and some other sides. Within two minutes, the carver on the other side of the counter had all three sandwiches made and dipped. In another two minutes, I was chowing down on the juicy and tender roast beef.
The steady stream of people lining up for the carvers is a testament to how good this place is. Despite the late lunch hour, there was still a rush of people with no sign of stopping. Philippe the Original is definitely a Los Angeles staple, steeped in history and roast beef juice.
Philippe the Original
1001 N. Alameda St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012