Whenever we're flying in-to or out-from Los Angeles there's nothing that makes the transition easier than knowing there are multiple Retro Roadmap worthy places near LAX to grab a bite or a meal at. Here are 3 of our faves!
Pann's is one of my fave Googie style coffee shops in the Los Angeles area.
Built in 1958 it is still owned and operated by the Panagopoulos family (hence the name) and is open 7 days a week, from 7am -9pm (10pm on Fri/Sat nights).
If that sign wasn't enough to entice you in, the building - designed by the legendary Armet and Davis (same as Johnie's Coffee Shop) is a sight to behold, with cantilevered roof, big glass pane windows letting the outside light up the inside, and an amalgam of building materials creating a great variety of textures. It's a Mid Century Modern California Delight!
(It's also wicked hard to shoot at this time of day, so instead - check out this cool parking sign for Pann's I found!)
While waiting for your table or booth seat you can trace the history of the Panagopolous family's history of Pann's by looking at the artistic interpretation of the timeline on the windows, showing the trail from Springfield, MA to Tripoli Italy and finally to California.
(Not looking at your cellphone - ahem.)
This map to me is one of the best things to see at Pann's - so much history so creatively displayed! I also love that Massachusetts has a hand in creating this fab destination :-)
You should not have to wait too long for your seat, as there's a counter that goes on for miles, small booths and tables and outdoor seating as well.
(Sorry lady - you'll now be known as Forever Crabby-!)
One of the great design aspects of Pann's is the use of the natural filtering of the tropical plants, to give a soft glow to the interior, while making it seem like you're sitting outside. At this big banquette you'd have no idea that you're at the intersection of 2 busy roads, in the bustling city!
Pann's has something on the menu for everyone, no matter what meal you're looking for. I will always be thankful for the fact that the first time we ever stopped here, moments after a bumpy plane ride from the east coast, that I was able to order a cup of white rice to calm my jittery stomach. But I'm not always the delicate flower, so last time I opted for this:
Not exactly like Roscoe's, but very tasty - and a memorable LA-centric meal before heading back east!
If you don't have time to stop at a restaurant, but want a big bang for your kitsch photo-op collection as well as your tumtum, stop by Randy's donuts on the corner of Manchester and La Cienaga - and an easy swing off the 405.
Built in 1953 as part of a chain, there are only now a couple of other Giant Donuts in the LA area, according to our beloved resource Roadside America.
Be prepared for the panhandlers if you walk up to the window, or go through the drive-through if you're in a hurry. Good thing is, that this place isn't just picturesque, but tasty too! The donuts were delightful.
Randy's Donuts - open 24 hours!
805 West Manchester Boulevard
Inglewood, CA 90301
Built in 1959 and still family owned and operated, Dinah's is in the same family of restaurants as Pann's. Mid century, open 7 days, great signage, with your choice of booths, tables or counter seats, with a slightly UFO inspired ventilation system!
But it's also got something that it is famous for in its own right - their Famous Fried Chicken - and the giant "tub" sign that towers above this Sepulveda Blvd location.
So I bet you know what was going to be my last meal in Los Angeles, don't you?!
And talk about the last meal! I opted for their Complete Chicken Dinner, as it seemed like the best value.
3 pieces of chicken, soup or salad, rolls, banana bread, 2 sides and unlimited soda.
And indeed with the amount of food I got, I felt as tubby as that tub sign by the time I lumbered out to the car to head to the airport. Oof!
As I said to Retro Roadhusband, it's good we're leaving LA now because "I can't go on eating like this!" - but if it helps my dear readers find their way to these cool old gems, then the stretchpants are worth it!