House of Pies, located on the corner of Franklin and Vermont in Los Feliz, is one of those places that catches your eye for a second on the drive past -- the indeterminately retro style of architecture, the old-school diner facade and, of course, the promise of fresh pie.
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For many locals, House of Pies is a cherished local haunt, a place that's been in the same location for more than 40 years and is as reliable today for a cup of coffee and a slice of strawberry pie as it was in 1969. But many of its most regular customers might not realize the fascinating and lonesome history behind House of Pies -- it's one of the last remaining branches of a Southern California empire launched by the creator of IHOP in the 1960s.
In a terrific piece published a few weeks ago in The Paris Review, contributor Aaron Gilbreath profiles the Los Feliz location as both a local eater and a cultural historian, looking back at the heyday of the "homestyle" restaurant in the post-World War II era when families fanned outward via booming suburbs and an expanded highway system. The pie is pretty awesome, too, he adds -- which might be part of the secret as to why this relic of a bygone era has lasted all these years.