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Aug 9, 2007 03:13 PM

Sad News From Papa Don's - South Pas.

Never seen a thread about Papa Don's sandwich shop in South Pasadena before, but there should have been.

Seemed like a sole proprietorship type place that made some pretty creative sandwiches along with the standards. It is on Pasadena Ave right where it crosses the Gold Line tracks.

Anyway, I went by there on Tuesday and there was a sign in the window that they were closed for a family emergency. I went back today and there was a note saying that Harry, the main owner/operator, had passed away on the 5th. Pretty shocking. He was old, but not ancient.

He was gruff, but not rude (well, maybe a bit rude), but he did have soft spots for many of his loyal customers. That this group did not include me makes no difference. I loved the place and he will be sorely missed.

I assume it will continue to operate, but it will be hard to maintain the same type of atmosphere w/o him behind the counter yelling at you that they were out of rolls or that you couldn't take one of his hot sandwiches to go.

RIP Harry.

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  1. There's a little walk-up hamburger stand on Oxnard (between Kester and Van Nuys) owned and operated by a gruff old man who, incidentally, makes a pretty decent burger (no fries, however; kinda sad). Sometimes, while waiting for my burger, I wonder how long he'll be able to keep the place open.

    It's sad when a cool little unique place like that comes to an end...

    1 Reply
    1. re: CucumberBoy

      Do you mean Bill's Hamburgers? That place has been there longer than most of you have been alive!

    2. From what you say, good sandwiches, standards, and non-plastic personality, I know I would have enjoyed this guy and his food. I found a post by nrique, Mar 24, 2006, that mentioned Papa Don's within another post about a place near there.

      Rude can be part of the ambiance. IMO, a “NYC style deli” lacks NY style unless it has that “Sirtin sum’um about it.” – NY Charm. Sometimes when I am waiting for my order to be filled at Eagle Rock Bakery there is a mature lady (the owner) who has a way of making her presence known even though she may not actually be doing anything. I have not noticed her in a while but I have noticed that the place is not the same without her.
      Her – “Mustard?”
      Me –“No.”
      Her – “OK. Mustard,” as she adds mustard.
      Her – “Pickles?”
      And so-on.

      There are also the L.A. style gruff, rude and tude about food places. All this kind of makes me want to return to Sweet Lady Jane before it's too late.

      Eagle Rock Bakery (fresh baked Italian sandwich bread and top quality Italian meats and cheese) 1726 Colorado Blvd.
      Los Angeles, CA 90041
      (323) 255-8224
      Mon-Sat - 8:00am-6:00pm, Sun - 9:30am-1:00pm

      Sweet Lady Jane

      1. I've passed this place at least 3x a week since I live around there and always told myself "Today's the day I'm going to go in" but I never did.


        1. Gruff is a good word to describe the operator of Papa Don's. Frankly, he gave me the impression that customers were a bother. That's why I only stopped in there once or twice during it's existence. There's nothing particularly unique or outstanding there. I prefer going to a sandwich place where I can at least feel welcome, such as Galco's, ER Bakery or Eastside Deli.

          Even Julio, as notoriously rude as he was, had his own twisted way of making you feel welcome at The Bucket.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Sam D.

            YOU feel welcome at Galco's? Ah, IMO, it is your MONEY that is welcome at Galco's! That guy John Nese, the owner, ah.... But don't get me wrong, to me it is all part of a ... ambiance thatis real -- not plastic. That is why I have no problem with Sweet Lady Jane. Not rude, only real.

            1. re: JeetJet

              Ha, that's the same thing I thought.

              I like Galco's but talk about feeling like a bother! The sandwich crew there makes Harry seem like a jolly fellow.

              1. re: JeetJet

                I feel welcomed at Galco's. Not sure why you feel otherwise. Any business welcomes your money but Mr. Nese has been very genuine and nice to my entire family. Now the lady who makes the sandwiches is another story. She seems morbid. She looks morbid and she has an attitude to match. Not sure what her trip is. They had this brat who made sandwiches too but she's not there anymore. She was unfriendly. I'm always glad when someone else is there making sandwiches other than that morbid woman.

            2. So here's the sandwich I got addicted to:

              The London Roast

              -Thinly sliced RARE roast beef
              -sliced cucumbers
              -salt & pepper
              -horseradish sauce
              -served on a freshly baked french roll

              It was a really really good sandwich. Reasonably priced and big, but not too filling. Just right. A shame I never got other sandwiches, that one was just too good.