Step inside Pann’s Diner at the corner of La Cienega Boulevard and La Tijera Boulevard and you will feel like you have stepped back in time to 1958.
The family owned diner, founded and still owned by the Poulos family, is a Los Angeles institution with its Googie style architecture and a menu that takes diner-style food to a new level.
Jim Poulos has been running the restaurant since 1978 and his mother Rena, 95, is still a constant at the restaurant she started with her late husband, George, meeting and greeting guests everyday and serving up an infectious smile.
“I can tell you people walk into the door and for them it’s walking into a time capsule,” Poulos said. “Many first time guests say ‘I’ve passed by here for years and years and I wasn’t sure what it was,’ but they come in and they are blown away. I’ve kept it so original with only a few changes like the addition of the outdoor patio dining area. The inside is much like it was in 1958.”
The menu at Pann’s showcases a wide range of dishes made from high quality ingredients including fresh cut fruits and vegetables and freshly ground chuck.
In addition, Pann’s makes their own soups, baked goods, salad dressings, and even croutons from scratch. Pann’s offers a number of specialty items, courtesy of Chef Patrick, including daily Blue Plate specials on weekdays featuring everything from Slow Braised Short Ribs to Bouillabaisse chock full of fresh shrimp, scallops, and fish.
Poulous said he really loved working with Chef Patrick to create comfort food dishes.
“It’s food that people will say, ‘That tasted so good, that’s what I used to have when I was a kid,’” he said.
He said the restaurant first opened with a menu that was about a quarter of the size it is now.
“There was maybe 10 breakfasts, 10 lunches, and five or six dinners on the original menu,” he said. “Something that was always there was the split pea soup and the fried chicken. Our waffle and wings has become our number one seller. There was always the dream burger, which I think is the best burger in town. My dad developed the recipe with a special relish that we make.”
The milkshakes at Pann’s feature real ice cream and run the gamut from Oatmeal Raisin to Chocolate Truffle while the “Sock it To Me” Cake, reminiscent of an over-the-top coffee cake, is made using an old Poulos family recipe.
Unlike many diner’s Pann’s serves alcohol, including domestic and imported beers by the bottle, wine from California, France and Italy as well as low-alcohol cocktails.
On weekends, it’s all about BBQ and Pann’s smokes their own Beef Brisket and Baby Back Ribs on-site in their smoker using their homemade BBQ sauce.
“At Pann’s it’s all about great food,” Poulos said. “We take typical diner-style fare and kick it up a notch because we make a lot of our food from scratch, using high quality ingredients and in some cases, old family recipes. We make people feel at home; our servers are amazingly good at remembering guest’s names and details such as whether or not they like gravy or syrup on their chicken and waffles. These are just two reasons why we’re still here and have developed a large, loyal group of regulars over the years while also attracting new customers.”
One of the elements that also makes Pann’s memorable is the actual building.
Built in 1957 by renowned architects Eldon Davis and Helen Liu Fong of the Armet & Davis architectural firm, it’s one of the few remaining structures that has preserved and showcases the Googie style architecture style prevalent in Southern California during the late 1950’s and 60’s.
Pann’s Restaurant is located at 6710 La Tijera Blvd., near LAX, in Los Angeles.
Pann’s serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Hours are Sunday-Wednesday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursday – Saturday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Dine-in, take-out and catering are available. Parking is free. For more information, call 323.776.3770 or visit www.panns.com.