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Pann's

6710 LaTijera Blvd., Los Angeles, CA - (310) 670-1441
Posted By Michael Stern on 11/21/2010 12:50:00 AM
Pann's is like the polymorphous Flubadub on the old Howdy Doody TV show: a single entity composed of wildly different characters. In this case, the culinary crazy quilt is part medieval grotto (ponderous stone walls), part spaceship-boomerang panache, and part plush tailfin automobile upholstery. In other words, it is a perfect example of what is known as Googie style, aka Do-Wop design, that thrived in mid 20th century America, especially in Southern California.

Like the place itself, the menu is a nostalgic wonderland of such coffee shop classics as roast turkey with cornbread stuffing, liver and onions, chicken & waffles, mile-high layer cakes, and tapioca pudding. Beverages include milk shakes and malts, strawberry lemonade, and root beer floats. If you order coffee, the uniformed waitress corps will top it off approximately every 90 seconds.

Fried chicken is a house specialty, and while it is not in the same league as the elegant, melt-in-mouth versions found in Kansas City, it does come enveloped in a dark gold crust as luxurious as crisp bacon. Mashed potatoes are real, available with white gravy, brown gravy, or country sausage gravy. Pann's is proud of its buttermilk biscuits, served with butter and bubble packs of honey. Unlike fluffy southern-style biscuits, these are dense and heavy. But I don't mean that in a bad way. Their avoirdupois is a style unto itself.

It is not the greatest food in Los Angeles, but it is one of the greatest places. If you appreciate classic restaurant design, there is no more beautiful example of SoCal coffee shop than Pann's.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Fried Chicken Dinner
Sunrise
Biscuit
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Fried chicken has been the menu's star since Pann's opened in 1958. From a good list of side dishes that includes mac 'n' cheese, roasted yams, and pickled beets, I chose mashed potatoes with white gravy and sauteed fresh spinach: the squarest of square meals.
"Fried chicken has been the menu's star since Pann's opened in 1958. From a good list of side dishes that includes mac 'n' cheese, roasted yams, and pickled beets, I chose mashed potatoes with white gravy and sauteed fresh spinach: the squarest of square meals."
Michael Stern





The chicken meat is quite alright, but the crust that envelops it is sensational: crisp, just a little bit salty and seasoned, and luxurious beyond measure.
"The chicken meat is quite alright, but the crust that envelops it is sensational: crisp, just a little bit salty and seasoned, and luxurious beyond measure."
Michael Stern


The Sunrise is a half-and-half mix of lemonade and orange juice.
"The Sunrise is a half-and-half mix of lemonade and orange juice."
Michael Stern


The milkshakes, like this chocolate banana beauty, come in tall silver beakers.
"The milkshakes, like this chocolate banana beauty, come in tall silver beakers."
Cliff Strutz


Extra-large lipstick-red booths are available at both ends of the dining room. Note the stone wall.
"Extra-large lipstick-red booths are available at both ends of the dining room. Note the stone wall."
Michael Stern


Pann's biscuit isn't svelte, but it is satisfying.
"Pann's biscuit isn't svelte, but it is satisfying."
Michael Stern


Counter seating is an essential element of coffee shop design. Look at the stylin' hanging rectangles at ceiling level.
"Counter seating is an essential element of coffee shop design. Look at the stylin' hanging rectangles at ceiling level."
Michael Stern


Check out the font on the address above the front door.
"Check out the font on the address above the front door."
Michael Stern


The letters on this sign illuminate one by one.
"The letters on this sign illuminate one by one."
Michael Stern


Johnie's, now defunct, was designed by the same architect who created Pann's, Helen Liu Fong. Legend says that she was so particular about interior design that she actually used nail polish in certain places to get just the right color. Her firm also designed the original Denny's and Bob's Big Boy.
"Johnie's, now defunct, was designed by the same architect who created Pann's, Helen Liu Fong. Legend says that she was so particular about interior design that she actually used nail polish in certain places to get just the right color. Her firm also designed the original Denny's and Bob's Big Boy. "
Michael Stern



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