Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


Video: The French Dip, A Classic L.A. Sandwich Rivalry

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

The French Dip is indisputably counted as belonging to the great American pantheon of sandwiches, and its creation story is centered in Los Angeles. But like so many delicious pieces of history, there's a bit of friendly rivalry embedded in the French Dip's backstory.

Two historic L.A. restaurants, Cole's and Philippe's, both claim to have invented the French Dip. Cole's, L.A.'s oldest public house, located on the ground floor of the Pacific Electric Building opened in 1908. They say that their chef dipped the bread in au jus to accommodate a customer with bad gums. Then there's Philippe's, which was established in 1908 by Philippe Mathieu, who is said to have "accidentally" invented the French Dip in 1918 when he "inadvertently dropped the sliced french roll into the roasting pan filled with juice still hot from the oven."

A new video takes a look at this very Los Angeles rivalry about a very Los Angeles food item. The real story may never determine if Cole's or Phillipe's came first, but many Angelenos choose sides and stay loyal to their favorite French Dip.

Support for LAist comes from

The French Dip: a tale from Los Angeles from Joris Debeij on Vimeo.