So, Who invented the French Dip ?

September 28, 2006 at 2:42 pm 2 comments

Philippe, inventors and purveyors of the French Dip, since 1908.

Well according to the oldest standing restaurant in Hollywood, Philippe, THEY did.
Philippe, down in the Chinatown section of Downtown Los Angeles is something you see in old books, usually in black and white. They claim to have invented the French Dip Sandwich, which, for those who don’t know, is your basic deli sandwich with the bread dipped into beef juices, which adds flavor and moistens the whole thing up.

This is what drives people here in droves….

It works. They use a small sub sandwich roll, and you have your choice of sliced Beef, Turkey, Pork,Ham or Lamb, and a choice of cheese for an extra charge. The Sandwich gets a nice moist texture due the bread dipping, and the beef juice adds a nice flavor.

Yes, It’s as good as it looks. Turkey and Swiss French Dip Sandwich, Apple Pie, Coffee

That is only part of what makes this place so great. The inherent and well preserved “old school-ness” of Philippe is the other part of the appeal. It’s downtown location, in Chinatown, the sawdust on the floor, the rows of cafeteria style tables, and the signage all add to the experience. Those old painted signs behind the counter are great, and the prices are pretty old school too….look here

Yea, you read that right….Lemonade 60 cents, Iced Tea 50 cents. Hey, they’re not 1908 prices, but maybe 1976? They AIN’T 2006 prices, that’s for sure.

Here’s the REAL kicker….”Spare a dime for a cup of coffee?”…..Here, a panhandler downtown could ask that question and it would be true, AND he’d get a penny back. Coffee here is 9 CENTS a cup….Yes, 9 CENTS. THOSE are 1908 prices. Starbucks, are you listening?

They come in droves…at lunch time, the lines are way longer, but they keep it movin’

Then there is the ordering. Here’s how it works…there are a bunch of people working behind the counter….people line up in front of one of them, you get in line, tell them what you want, pay, wait about a minute, get your food on a tray, go find a table, sit and eat.
That’s it. There’s old cafeteria style high tables with stools, or go in the dining room and get a table. Deli mustard on the table,sawdust on the floor, the old,brokendown, downtown people, and business people mix, it works.

Philippe…dining for the “regular guy”.

I had the Turkey and Swiss Cheese French Dip. Apple pie was great, and the coffee fresh. I walked out stuffed for like $8. I’d pay about $16 at Jerry’s Deli for that, granted, the Jerry’s sandwich would have like 10 lbs of meat on it, but I don’t think it’s necessary. This sandwich had just the right amount of everything.
They serve breakfast until 10:30 am, and have lots ofother stuff, cole slaw, potato salad, pork chops etc, but it seems that the people come here for the French Dip. As they should, after all They DID invent it.


Entry filed under: Food.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Pomai  |  October 3, 2006 at 11:14 am

    I’m not sure whether it was Phillipe’s or Cole’s, but they featured the “inventor” of the French Dip Sandwich on the Food Network once. All I remember was them saying the way it happened was this…

    Way back when, a police officer came into the restaurant to order a deli sandwich. The deli counter worker making the sandiwch “accidentally” dropped the entire sandwich in the nearby Au Jus, quickly scopped it out and was about to make another one, when the police officer told the worker that he was in a hurry and he’d just talke that one. The rest is history.

    This was according to the story told by the Food Network.

  • 2. donna peterson  |  April 7, 2009 at 4:18 am

    Someone needs to open a franchise of Phillippe’s here in Tucson AZ. I love those sandwiches and there’e nothing like it here.


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