Pann's Coffee Shop

 
(2019)^.^ - Pann's Coffee Shop located on La Cienega and La Tijera boulevards in, Los Angeles.  Painting by Carlos G Groppa  

 

Historical Notes

Pann's coffee shop is considered an institution in Los Angeles, for its history, role in movies, and distinctive architecture. The restaurant was opened by husband and wife George and Rena Poulos in 1958 and is still operated by the Poulos family as of 2020.  It is also known for its neon sign, Googie architecture, and 1950s decor.*

 

 

 

 
(2009)** – Pann’s Coffee Shop, located at 6710 La Tijera Blvd. Photo by Ashok Sinha  

 

Historical Notes

Louis Armet and Eldon Davis started their practice in 1947. In the period before 1970, they designed thousands of buildings in their distinct style—not just coffee shops, but private homes, markets, shopping centers, country clubs, even churches and cemeteries. Most of Armet & Davis' projects of this period contained custom-designed artwork, many in new materials such as plastics and resins.

Pann's includes an angular edifice and large plate glass windows and has been described as having "the classic coffee shop architecture". It was designed by Helen Liu Fong, who also designed the Holiday Bowl, Johnie's coffee shop, and the original Norms Restaurant.  She included tropical landscaping in the design, and was part of the firm of Armet & Davis that one commentator refers to as "the Frank Lloyd Wright of 1950s coffee shops."

 

 

 

 
(ca. 2010s)^ - Close-up view showing the landscaping in front of Pann’s Coffee Shop. Photo by Sebastian Schlueter  

 

Historical Notes

Pann's is one of the last and best of the iconic futuristic coffee shops designed by the prolific firm of Armet & Davis. Its traffic island is an oasis of subtropical planting beneath an immense, hovering "tortoise shell" roof. An offkilter, animated neon sign bursts skyward.

 

 

 

 
(2009)^ - Neon sign above Pann's Coffee Shop reads: Pan's - Real Food - Since 1958  

 

Historical Notes

Pann's was featured in a story in the Los Angeles Times, "Going on a hunt for Googie architecture," which noted the restaurant's tilted roof and sign, tropical plants and exposed stone walls indoors and out, and glass windows wrapping around the restaurant.

Click HERE to see more on the Origins of Googie Architecture.

 

 
(2020)^.^ - Looking through Pann's large plate windows showing the 1950s style décor.  Photo by Stephen D. Schafer  

 

Historical Notes

Inside, the restaurant boasts all of the hallmarks of the California coffee shop style—terrazzo floors, massive sheets of plate glass, a soaring roofline, flagstone walls, and planters rising out of the ground. Alan Hess writes in Googie: Fifties Coffee Shop Architecture that "these were places where George Jetson and Fred Flintstone could meet over a cup of coffee."^

In addition to being a feast for the eyes, Pann's is notable for still being owned and lovingly cared for by family members of its original owners. There is an illustrated history of the owners' migration from Greece, across the U.S. to Los Angeles, near the Pann's entrance. In 1993, second-generation owner Jim Poulos completely restored Pann's to its 1958 glory, receiving a Conservancy Preservation Award for his efforts.^

Recognition:

Winner of the Los Angeles Conservancy Preservation Award

Pann's has operated under a number of snappy mottoes, including "Just Food, Service and Rock & Roll."

The restaurant has been featured in films such as xXx and Bewitched and Pulp Fiction.

Contrary to popular belief, Pulp Fiction was not filmed at Pann's; it was filmed at Pann's other location, Holly’s, in Hawthorne.*

 

 

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Historical Early Views

 

 

Newest Additions

 

 

Early LA Buildings and City Views

 

 

History of Water and Electricity in Los Angeles

 

 

 

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