HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


The Apple Pan

I've been going to The apple Pan since I was a child... It was always my understanding that it is divided by two sides. When you walk in you choose your side and wait.... When a spot opens up on your side you jump on in.. As i took my long awaited for seats I was approached by a couple waiting on the other side... verbally lashing at my to get the hell out of their seats.... Bewildered, we got up and waited on the other side... Seats came up so we sat down again and another couple tried to bump us out claiming that we jumped sides... The long standing counter guys explained that it is first come first serve.. no this side or that side.... Does anyone out there have an opinion or experience with this,,,

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've been going to the Apple Pan since the late sixties. The rule I've observed is that wherever a seat opens, it's claimed by whoever has been there the longest, regardless of which side they're waiting on.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Hackenbush

      I've been there numerous times and I've always gone off the rule of whoever has been there the longest, regardless of the side, sits first. That makes the most sense doesn't it? Why should some shmo who just wandered in aimlessly off the street get to sit automatically just cause he got lucky on his side choice.

      Take my seat and you'll get a banana cream pie to the face! Actually that's totally a waste of some amazing pie. I'll throw the apple instead.

      1. re: ReelMike84

        "Take my seat and you'll get a banana cream pie to the face! Actually that's totally a waste of some amazing pie. I'll throw the apple instead."

        Darn straight! Save that banana cream and bring me a big slice!

    2. My opinion is some people are jerks. I also feel that although the old fashioned way at AP is cute and traditional and all, but, c'mon, time to sort of evolve. Even one of those stupid ticket wheels.

      My final thought is that I've been a few times, and found nothing really wating for, beyond the most spectacular banana cream pie ever. The AP burgers-meh. The famed apple pan pie,-below mediocre, the sought after fires-nothing outstanding.

      But that banana cream pie! ooohhhhhhh, it's like the best sex ever-with bananas!

      1. I'm with you on this one. When I've been (going since the 70's, while my mom has been going since the mid-50's), it's always seemed to me that everyone kinda picks a side, but if the counter guys say it's truly 1st-come, 1st-served, then I guess that's the way it is. It certainly makes more sense, but my prior understanding was the same as yours.

        1. I grew up about 4 blocks from Apple Pan. It's always been first come first served. There are no "sides".

          1. This is a peeve of mine as well. I agree with you: choose a side and wait for a seat on your side. I've been going since the seventies and my mother has been going since the forties, and this is the way I've mostly seen it done, despite what the counter guys say. Really, they should post it somewhere.

            1. Not to complicate things -- but from my observation, both systems are at work. When there are only a few people waiting (maximum of about 6 or 8 people), the chairs go to whoever has been waiting longest, regardless of what side they have been standing on. But when the place is busier -- when there are 15 or 20 people waiting -- it's too hard to figure out who has been waiting longest, and people tend to give the seats to whoever has been waiting longest on a particular side. Both systems seem logical in their own context. The problems occur in the grey area, when there are 8 to 10 people waiting -- some of whom are paying super-close attention to who's been there longest, while others are just waiting on a particular side. As usual, a little deference and humor goes a long way.

              3 Replies
              1. re: TKD

                TKD has it right. As a long time visitor of AP, I have observed exactly that situation at work. The more people, the more the side rules are observed. What also ends up happening is people who are loud and insist they know the rules sort of impart what they think is the right rules. So I have passively gone along with both situations when a loud, self-assured, AP regular, tells the rest of us "THE ACTUAL RULES".

                I tend to just go alone, with a magazine and then scoot into a chair. No waiting, no side choices. That is my trick to avoiding this whole-conflict altogether. More often that not, there is a lone seat, waiting to be sat in and I take full advantage

                1. re: jA1

                  I always thought the rule was that, while the music was playing everyone had to keep walking behind the seats, and when it stopped you made a mad dash for the closest one and plopped your rear into it. ;-D

                  1. re: Servorg

                    This is my nomination for post of the year! Thanks for making me laugh out loud.

                    As much as I love Apple Pan, I avoid the place if I see a lot of people waiting.

              2. First come first served. The regulars know this. Sometimes new people make stuff up.

                1. The Apple Pan has always been first come first served. Not long ago, a guy walked in with his family, found some folks who were just finishing up and stood behind them. I was next in line -- a very long line, and new what was coming. The folks got up and I walked over to get our seats resulting in some threatening behavior from the seat grabber. He told me, of course, that this was the way it had always been done at the Pan. Did I mention that this guy was big and ugly? Of course the Pan handlers stay clear of all these discussions. Did I mention that, while not IMHO ugly, I am big (e.g. 6'4", 240#)? In fact I am bigger than the ugly guy. This dawned on him as I was calculating (the math thing, yunno) the best way to launch him through the window, and he discovered an urgent need to use the bathroom.

                  This is not my idea of a pleasant, fun dining experience, and although I have been back a couple times, I am over the Pan. While the ugly guy was a jerk, the old school idea of letting your customers sort it out makes me have even less respect for the Pan management, inasmuch as it can be called management.

                  1. I know this might not work because of the amount of people in your party and the seats that come available but It should be possible to come up with some kind of numbered ticket that is dispensed as you come in to take the next available space/s.

                    1. I went once about 7 years ago. I can't deal with their system and have never been back.

                      1. been going to apple pan since i was a kid. was there last weeekend in fact. i always go by this rule..you choose where you want to stand. eitehr side or front. whomever is there first in that particualr area has rights to those seats. burger is still as good as it was 35 years ago.

                        1. its better than trying to get a seat at FO.

                          1. A simple sign is all that's needed.