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How to pronounce Phillipe's

Midlife Oct 12, 2009 05:43 PM

I've called it Phil-eeps for years, sometimes Phil-eep-ehs, but found this today:


Who knew the owners pronounce it Phil-eep-ees.

A German pronunciation for a French dip place?? Historians all over are rolling their eyes.


  1. Bob Brooks Oct 15, 2009 04:53 PM

    I also pronounced it your way until a few years ago when I learned that the original owner was German. Who knew?

    1. m
      Maximilien Oct 16, 2009 04:34 AM

      just like the phillips screwdriver.

      in french, it's just about 2 syllables, phil-epps

      1 Reply
      1. re: Maximilien
        Midlife Oct 16, 2009 10:18 AM

        Except this is the specific pronunciation of the name of a specific eating place in Los Angeles. The NPR piece interviews one of the current partners and he insists the "family" is of German background and pronounces it Phil-eep-ees.

        What's interesting is that all the historical material on the place says it was first established by a FRENCH immigrant, named Phillipe Mathieu (1918). That would most certainly mean it would be FRENCH in origin and pronounced Phil-eeps.

        Wikipedia says the family is still owned by the Martins, who bought it from Mathieu in 1927. It's likely they are the ones that are German in heritage. Anyway............... it opens up the issue of whether a name is pronounced the way the owners of the business wish it to be, or the way it was originally, or????????????????

      2. e
        ekammin Oct 18, 2009 02:58 PM

        The apostrophe s ending does not belong in either German of French.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ekammin
          Midlife Oct 18, 2009 11:33 PM

          The answer to your issue is probably that the actual name of the place is Phillipe The Original, but the owners, staff, and customers call it Phillipe's. All I was commenting on was how to say the common name correctly. How does the language lesson help?

        2. flylice2x Oct 18, 2009 11:45 PM

          Ok...How ever you call it, you go there for the DIP...

          1 Reply
          1. re: flylice2x
            Midlife Oct 18, 2009 11:55 PM

            Is this national 'let's get picky day' or something?

          2. j
            judybird Oct 19, 2009 05:06 PM

            My parents came to Los Angeles in the 1930's and were eating at Philippe's from the beginning. They always called it Phil-eep-ees.

            4 Replies
            1. re: judybird
              Midlife Oct 19, 2009 11:26 PM

              That would square with the family that bought it in 1927 having pronounced it that way. Seems like Angelenos (and staff, from the NPR spot) have strayed from the correct way to say it.

              We take our dog to a vet hospital called Estrella. Any good SoCal native could tell you that should be pronounced 'Estreya', but the Vets and staff call it EstreLLA. Go figure.

              1. re: Midlife
                Mr Taster Oct 21, 2009 04:40 PM

                Consider the weirdness that La Jolla is still pronounced "La Hoya" and not "La Joe-la", and yet the Northern California city Vallejo is pronounced "Vall-A-Ho", a bit of a mix-up of both the Spanish and English pronounciations. (Shoudn't it be either "Va-yay-ho" or "Va-ledge-o"? Why choose the English pronounciation of "LL" and the Spanish pronunciation of "J"?)

                Mr Taster

                1. re: Mr Taster
                  Midlife Oct 21, 2009 04:50 PM

                  At least it's not very often that someone asks for directions to Sepp-ul-veeda Boulevard.

                  1. re: Midlife
                    Mr Taster Oct 21, 2009 06:01 PM

                    I'm guilty of having done that when I arrived here 13 years ago. I also mangled La Cienega in quite a few creative ways before finally figuring it out.

                    Mr Taster

            2. r
              racer x Oct 25, 2009 11:37 AM

              If by Philippe's you mean the Chinese restaurant in Miami Beach or NYC (or now West Hollywood), it's pronounced "vair-ee ecks-PEN-suhv."

              3 Replies
              1. re: racer x
                Midlife Oct 25, 2009 12:35 PM

                Thanks for that???????????????????????? This one is a near-100 year-old sandwich place near downtown LA. Vies with Cole's (LA) in staking claim to being the home of the French Dip sandwich. [click link in my OP.]

                1. re: Midlife
                  racer x Oct 25, 2009 12:46 PM

                  Haha, midlife
                  Yes, I've had the lamb french dip there. (And can I say it was one of the more underwhelming culinary experiences I've had in LA?)

                  1. re: racer x
                    Midlife Oct 25, 2009 12:49 PM

                    I like Phillipe's but think it may belong in the Tito's Tacos category for a lot of people. Phillipe's always seems to be busy. Price has a whole lot to do with it.

              2. KenWritez Oct 25, 2009 12:18 PM

                All my family, and everyone I know pronounces it "fuh-LEE-pays." I've never heard it pronounced any other way.

                1 Reply
                1. re: KenWritez
                  Midlife Oct 25, 2009 11:47 PM

                  Did you listen to the NPR piece? I'd heard it pronounced as you did and as 'phil-eeps', but never as 'phil-eep-ees' until I listened to that piece. The German background of the family that's owned it since 1927 checks out, but doesn't really explain the pronunication except maybe as a MIS-pronunciation by people who weren't French.

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