Philippe’s welcomes exhibit. Are there changes at Langer’s?

| May 30, 2019 | 0 Comments
MODELS of the famous two locomotives that met at Promontory Point in 1869 are on display. On the lower shelf are the two operating steam locomotives of the Union Pacific Railroad; including the newly restored “Big Boy” No. 4014 and the “living legend” No. 844

Philippe The Original (1001 N. Alameda St.) is as doused in history as the famous “French Dipped Sandwiches” its original owner claimed to have created. Today, the 111-year-old establishment is showcasing another bit of history — Hollywood history — with its new exhibit, “Hollywood’s Golden Spike.”

Established in 1908 by Philippe Mathieu, the restaurant has served the Los Angeles community ever since. It kept its doors open through World War I and the Great Depression, serving as a homey place where a hot cup of coffee could be purchased for a nickel (and the price stayed that way until 1977). 

Philippe’s earned itself a place in culinary history as the birthplace of the “French Dipped Sandwich.” Local lore claims that the creation came about by accident when, in 1918, Mathieu, while making a sandwich for a policeman, dropped the bread into a pan of juices left over from a roast. When the cop came back the next day, this time with others, asking for more “dipped sandwiches,” Mathieu knew he was onto something. Thus, the famous “French Dipped Sandwich” was born. 

Gold Spike exhibit

Now, the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation (LARHF) has entrusted the restaurant with more history by selecting Philippe’s to be home to one of the foundation’s satellite exhibits celebrating the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. The “Hollywood’s Golden Spike” exhibit highlights the role the revolutionary railroad played in works by legendary film directors John Ford and Cecil B. DeMille in their movies “Iron Horse” and “Union Pacific,” respectively.  Most recently, in 2011, AMC came out with the series “Hell on Wheels,” dramatizing the construction of the railroad. The exhibit includes photographs from the sets of these various projects, as well as models of the trains that met at Promontory Point — the spot in Utah where the Transcontinental Railroad was officially completed. 

The exhibit will be on display until December. 

Pastrami continues

Another longtime eatery that may or may not be facing possible changes is Langer’s Deli.  Known for its pastrami sandwiches, which the late Nora Ephron hailed as being “the finest hot pastrami sandwich in the world” (“The New Yorker,” 2002), Langer’s has served generations of loyal customers for more than 70 years. However, the continued “Call for Offers” posting on the wall of Langer’s building has some wondering about the fate of the beloved deli. While the building first went on the market back in August 2018, according to LoopNet, the location is still for sale. In a 2018 “Los Angeles Times” interview, Norm Langer — son of the original founder, Al Langer — said that he’s doesn’t fear for the future of Langer’s. “I don’t own the property and never have, so I am a tenant and have been for the last umpteen years. And I’m not planning on going anywhere whether it’s sold or not. That’s as hard in cement as I can put it.”

By Julia Stier

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Category: Entertainment

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