French Dipped

Last night I was introduced to a Los Angeles institution I’ve never seen; PHILIPPE’s The Original.

Philippe’s is located in downtown L.A. (near Chinatown).

This restaurant has been open since 1908, who claims the distinction of creating the “French Dip” sandwich.  It was serendipity when he dropped the bread in the roasting pan filled with meat juice and the police officer (pig) waiting for said sandwich ate it anyway and enjoyed it.

The origin of the name “French Dip” is lost in it’s history.
Three theories exist:

1. The owner of the restaurant, Philppe Mathieu, was from French decent.

2. The bread used for the sandwich was a French Roll

3. The cop’s name who ate the thing was French.

Well…  who cares…

This place is the jam, it’s packed with history, is very reasonably (if not inexpensively) priced, and most importantly it’s delicious.

I’m not sure I can justly describe this place.  The best I can do is give it a 10 out of 10 review and a huge referral to anyone reading this.  I also took a couple pics to help illustrate the experience.

First off, besides the food, one thing that really blew my mind was the diversity of customers in there.  Granted everyone eats sandwiches…  but this had the 100% full range.  Homeless people, people in suit and tie, people on dates, gay dudes, gang bangers, sketch balls, children, families, super old dapper black dudes in suspenders, you name it- shit was weird!!

This place is old school- only a few things on the menu and you can tell this is where construction dudes and railroad employees would come 100 years ago for power lunch/breakfast.  Many things never changed, coffee on the menu is still 9¢ if you dine-in (75¢ in a to-go cup).  Sandwiches are about $6-$7 and a Budweiser costs $2.50.  These prices are pretty unheard of in Los Angeles.

I didn’t dig in on the pickled pig’s feet, but I went on a limb for a pickled egg (80¢).  The thing came from a huge jar on the counter- WHOA!

Ordered a couple kosher dill pickles ($1/each).  They sliced the eggs and pickles up real nice for ya!

You order from the counter and wait til the food is ready, no waitstaff.  Just stand at the counter til your sandwich is ready.  Not bad though- there is lots of staff there and screw waiters- they’re usually slow and annoying anyway.

We ordered the Pork French Dip, a Tuna Sandwich with Swiss, chips, coleslaw, macaroni salad, pickled eggs, dill pickles, beers and that’s it.

Here’s what the order looked like 10 minutes later. DESTRUCTION.

This place is great, on the way out theres a huge brick wall with hundreds and hundreds of engravings, its huge, this photo just shows a small portion of it.


Philppe The Original
1001 N. Alameda St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Sandwiches are great and all, but tonight I’ve got a reservation at MASTRO’S STEAKHOUSE in Beverly Hills. Jealous Much?!?!


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