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if you had to eat at the Original Pantry what would you eat?

redrover Nov 20, 2009 10:00 PM

It's looking like circxumstances may conspire to put me in the Original Pantry tomorrow morning (I'm staying a block away, I have to be somewhere without breakfast options (by USC) at 9 without a car etc. So if you were pushed like that into eating at the Pantry, what's decent? I know from experience it's not a great place, but what's tolerable? Thanks.

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  1. ipsedixit RE: redrover Nov 20, 2009 10:18 PM

    I like the Pantry. It's a greasy spoon and if you enjoy it at that level you'll be fine.

    I'd suggest the following:

    -Sourdough toast with coleslaw
    -Hasbrowns done well (nice and crispy)

    2 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit
      J.L. RE: ipsedixit Nov 21, 2009 04:41 PM

      A rare disagree with you ipse, but... I disagree with you on this. For me, The Pantry exemplifies the word "ick".

      1. re: ipsedixit
        foodiemahoodie RE: ipsedixit Nov 23, 2009 12:01 PM

        You nailed it - the home fries are good too. Taters and slaw.

        The meat? Last few times I tried it - was worse than any meat I've ever had in my entire life!

      2. m
        mc michael RE: redrover Nov 20, 2009 10:19 PM


        1. j
          Jack Flash RE: redrover Nov 20, 2009 10:39 PM

          Ham & cheese omelette. My favorite version of this breakfast classic, in fact.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Jack Flash
            monku RE: Jack Flash Nov 21, 2009 05:46 AM

            Agree...Combination omelette (ham & cheese) cooked easy, well done hash browns, grilled sourdough toast and salsa.

            1. re: monku
              mpken RE: monku Nov 21, 2009 01:41 PM

              The Pantry really cook a great egg scrambled easy. I don't know how many times I've had it overcooked at other places. Went two weeks ago for breakfast and got 6 perfectly cooked slices of bacon with my order.

          2. Tom P RE: redrover Nov 21, 2009 05:58 AM

            I choose to eat there! I like it a lot. Though I like a lot of their food, breakfast is definitely their strongest meal. I love any form of their eggs and usually just get 2 eggs with bacon and hash browns and toast. Be sure to get some of the salsa, which is usually made fresh by a fellow who works the counter. It is some of the best salsa in town.

            1. s
              sel RE: redrover Nov 21, 2009 09:11 AM

              I haven't been for years but when I used to stop there, early before daybreak, I'd get the steak and fried potatos with sourdough toast and lousy coffee . Pretty darned tasty at that early hour and cool being served by aging, grumpy ex-cons!

              Original Pantry Cafe
              877 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

              2 Replies
              1. re: sel
                monku RE: sel Nov 21, 2009 10:55 AM

                I'd heard tha "ex-con" thing years ago when I first started going and wondered if it was true?

                1. re: monku
                  sel RE: monku Nov 21, 2009 12:46 PM

                  Don't really know but I believed it at the time! Maybe it was well sort of a predecessor to Homeboy Ind.

              2. r
                Robert Thornton RE: redrover Nov 21, 2009 10:04 AM

                I really like the pancakes there.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Robert Thornton
                  Hughlipton RE: Robert Thornton Nov 21, 2009 03:07 PM

                  If they still serve them the buckwheat cakses used to be outstanding. with ham on the side. Please excuse me but even though it was breakfast I would always have a side of coleslaw

                2. f
                  Francesca RE: redrover Nov 22, 2009 09:15 AM

                  It's been a very long time, but a few slices of their loaf of bread.

                  1. f
                    flowerofhighrank RE: redrover Nov 22, 2009 06:45 PM

                    Breakfast is always good. Salads are kinda rough. Get a steak, have them toast the bread with it and you're gonna leave happy. I sometimes go in and just get eh set-up (bread, butter, coleslaw and veggies).
                    The coffee's okay, it never closes, it's a connection to a time when guys wore hats and women wore gloves...

                    and now, a little rant. If the food were abysmal or below average, I could understand the whole 'ick' response. The truth is, the food's okay- but it's more than a steak or a sandwich. It's part of L.A.'s history. This city often seems intent on wiping out its past- and then, when something's gone, everybody says 'aw, I liked that old place!' A lot of fathers took their sons there, who in turn took their sons there and so on.
                    Two more sentences and I'll quit, okay?
                    We don't need another Starbucks; we need places where we can go and sit and smile. Then, when you say 'this is like the old days', I can respond 'these ARE the old days'.

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: flowerofhighrank
                      sel RE: flowerofhighrank Nov 22, 2009 07:12 PM


                      1. re: flowerofhighrank
                        mc michael RE: flowerofhighrank Nov 22, 2009 07:16 PM

                        Not a bad rant. Can I get a side of grease and some coffee with that?

                        1. re: flowerofhighrank
                          J.L. RE: flowerofhighrank Nov 22, 2009 11:11 PM

                          I really tried to like this place - each of my 3 visits were below average, and not 'okay'.

                          Therefore, I think that the food there IS abysmal.

                          1. re: J.L.
                            monku RE: J.L. Nov 23, 2009 04:11 AM

                            Out of curiosity what did you eat there?
                            I agree the steaks are cheap and tough and some of the daily specials are like something from your old school cafeteria. I basically go for their breakfasts and some of their daily specials are good.

                          2. re: flowerofhighrank
                            foodiemahoodie RE: flowerofhighrank Nov 23, 2009 12:06 PM

                            The food is too often awful with a few spots that are okay-ish (bread good, but there's better, slaw - too one note sweet but still satsifying).

                            It's changed. Riordan owns it now. Did they actually drop their already low-ish standards on meat to a grade below what they used to serve? Tastes that way to me.

                            Why not buy this place and turn it in a great, funky, reasonably priced steak joint? Sell better meat, it's that simple. Listen, I go to Pavillions/Vons and buy their "Rancher's Reserve" New York steak "value paks" (or something like that). Great meat? No. But way, way, way superior to the meat served at The Pantry. And it costs about 4 bucks a steak at the most. Pantry can cook that with potatoes, slaw for 7 bucks and charge 20 - and then the place would be decent. But it could be better than that.

                            Shame on Riordan. Really.

                            1. re: foodiemahoodie
                              BeenThereAteThat RE: foodiemahoodie Nov 23, 2009 02:27 PM

                              Riordan bought The Original Pantry in 1981...28 years ago!

                              1. re: BeenThereAteThat
                                monku RE: BeenThereAteThat Nov 23, 2009 02:32 PM

                                That sounds about the time I swore off going there for steaks.

                                1. re: BeenThereAteThat
                                  foodiemahoodie RE: BeenThereAteThat Nov 28, 2009 02:05 AM

                                  It seemed to have changed (as it going from mediocre beef to downright poor and livery-tasting) around 5 years ago.

                                2. re: foodiemahoodie
                                  annapurna7 RE: foodiemahoodie Nov 23, 2009 02:55 PM

                                  Turn the Pantry into a "funky" steak joint? No thanks.

                                  I like my Pantry with it's chewy steaks and good hash browns. It's been this way for years and shouldn't change.

                                  1. re: annapurna7
                                    bad nono RE: annapurna7 Nov 23, 2009 06:58 PM

                                    I'm with you here. It would be like turning Clifton's into a hipster spot. There are enough new fancy and pricey joints opening downtown already, no need to change the old spots!

                                    1. re: annapurna7
                                      foodiemahoodie RE: annapurna7 Nov 28, 2009 01:59 AM

                                      You're confusing funky with, say, the Funkadelics. It's already funky. Just improve the quality. And you could keep the prices the same.

                                      1. re: annapurna7
                                        flowerofhighrank RE: annapurna7 Nov 30, 2009 06:44 PM

                                        right. If you need a good steak, PDC or your own house. I can make a better salad at Souplantation or ?.
                                        But this is history in a town that let history slide for a long time. If you love L.A., you might wanna consider, once or twice a year, taking friends for breakfast at 4 A.M.? Dropping by for pie after a game?
                                        You'd do it for Phillippe's...

                                        1. re: flowerofhighrank
                                          monku RE: flowerofhighrank Nov 30, 2009 07:55 PM

                                          The Pantry isn't a charity.
                                          They've been an insitution for traditional American cuisine for 85 years.
                                          Any complainer on this thread would give their right arm to do the kind of busines The Pantry does.
                                          No need to pitty them.

                                  2. BeenThereAteThat RE: redrover Nov 23, 2009 02:26 PM

                                    I've never had bad roast beef there, but I also am getting the authentic experience that I'm craving.

                                    Hey, for some reason the Chowhound link machine doesn't recognize The Pantry or The Original Pantry. What's up with that?

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: BeenThereAteThat
                                      Servorg RE: BeenThereAteThat Nov 23, 2009 02:38 PM

                                      Get rid of that extraneous "the" and you'll find it.

                                      Original Pantry Cafe
                                      877 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                                      1. re: Servorg
                                        monku RE: Servorg Nov 23, 2009 03:14 PM

                                        "the," isn't extraneous.....name of the restaurant is "The Original Pantry Cafe".

                                        1. re: monku
                                          Servorg RE: monku Nov 23, 2009 03:16 PM

                                          Extraneous to the links (sausage making?) machine... ;-D>

                                          1. re: Servorg
                                            monku RE: Servorg Nov 23, 2009 03:32 PM

                                            I haven't checked, but if you tried to link to "The Hat" (slicer pastrami joints) would you look under "Hat"?

                                            1. re: monku
                                              BeenThereAteThat RE: monku Nov 23, 2009 07:11 PM

                                              Yes, you find The Hat under "The Hat".

                                              Thanks, Monku for sticking up for me when under pedantic attack from Servorg.

                                              Oh, and I love The Hat!

                                              The Hat
                                              491 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

                                      2. re: BeenThereAteThat
                                        monku RE: BeenThereAteThat Nov 23, 2009 06:56 PM

                                        The rib roast for $13.50 is a big hunk of meat and pretty good. It's an everyday lunch special so when it runs out that's it for the day.

                                      3. mrshankly RE: redrover Nov 23, 2009 02:32 PM

                                        The mac-n-cheese served on Wednesdays and Fridays. Definitely one of my top 3 places to get mac-n-cheese.

                                        Also, the buckwheat pancakes and the hashbrowns (well done) with a side of their meaty bacon.

                                        1. rednyellow RE: redrover Nov 23, 2009 06:27 PM

                                          Basic breakfasts are big and good. I like the roast chicken and the short ribs are ok too.

                                          1. m
                                            mc michael RE: redrover Nov 28, 2009 07:03 AM

                                            Here's my take on "tolerable" as the question was originally posed. I have only ever eaten breakfast at The Pantry. I like to get a combo breakfast that's got eggs, potatoes, toast and coffee (and maybe some bacon as well). It's pretty cheap. I can get a similar breakfast by description at say Pie N Burger. It costs about twice as much, maybe more. But the difference is with the Pie N Burger food I don't feel it two hours later. That's why I tolerate The Pantry only a couple of times a year.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: mc michael
                                              BeenThereAteThat RE: mc michael Nov 29, 2009 05:16 PM

                                              What do you think makes you "feel it two hours later"? The eggs? Potatoes? Toast? Coffee?

                                              1. re: BeenThereAteThat
                                                mc michael RE: BeenThereAteThat Nov 29, 2009 05:39 PM

                                                Duh grease in/on everything but the coffee. And I really like the potatoes and the sourdough toast.

                                            2. j
                                              JosephEBacon RE: redrover Nov 28, 2009 08:22 AM

                                              For breakfast, the ham and cheese omelet with hash browns and sourdough toast is what I enjoy. I also like their swiss steak and chicken fried steak especially with lots of cole slaw!

                                              1. Dommy RE: redrover Nov 29, 2009 08:00 PM

                                                Just a simple fried or poached egg with their potatoes done EXTRA crispy... a bottle of hot sauce I am a happy camper...


                                                1. wolfe RE: redrover Dec 17, 2009 10:28 AM

                                                  I remember stopping in for breakfast before the long drive back to San Francisco. Those were the best breakfast lamb chops I've ever had.

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