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Westlake’s Pacific Dining Car Restaurant Recommended As Historic Monument

A black and white photo of the railroad car in a field of grass. "Pacific Dining Car No. 1" is painted on the side.
The Pacific Dining Car, circa 1935.
(Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection)
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The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission has recommended that the City Council vote to designate the original Pacific Dining Car as an historic-cultural monument.

The steakhouse, just west of downtown, was designed like a railroad dining car. It was opened in 1921 by Fred and Grace Cook, who built the car in a friend’s backyard on 7th Street and Westlake Avenue. A second location in Santa Monica opened in 1990, but both storefronts closed in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The original location was famous for late-night meals because of its 24-hour service. It was also used as a filming location for movies and TV shows, including Training Day and Shameless.

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Andrew Goodrich, a senior associate with Architectural Resources Group, which submitted the historic monument recommendation, said Pacific Dining Car is a “stalwart” of the Westlake community, and of the city as a whole.

“This is a place that weathered the Depression and World War, changing demographics of the neighborhood, mass inflation of the 1970s and other challenges, and in spite of all of this, the restaurant remained, as it always had been in its original location since 1923,” Goodrich said.

Most items within the historic dining car were sold at auction. Owners did say at the time that the restaurant would not go away entirely, and it shifted to online sales of its steaks.

“We are deeply grateful for the over 70 people who showed up at the CHC meeting, and for those who spoke and emailed to express their support,” Pacific Dining Car’s Instagram said. “We’re excited that progress is being made towards preservation of our family’s legacy.”

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