How do you celebrate a 110th birthday? With the USC Marching Band, of course!

Philippe the Original will be celebrating more than a century of French dip sandwiches and historic L.A. status on Monday, Oct. 1, with live entertainment and $1.10 French dips from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Chinatown location.

As its founding family tells the story, Philippe the Original opened its doors in Los Angeles in 1908. In 1918, the restaurant’s founder, Philippe Mathieu, a Frenchman from Paris, dropped a sliced French roll into the roasting pan filled with juice still hot from the oven. The patron, a policeman, said he would take the sandwich anyway and returned the next day with some friends asking for more of the same. The rest is sandwich history.

The famous French dip sandwich comes with several choices of meat.; Credit: Phillipe the Original

The famous French dip sandwich comes with several choices of meat.; Credit: Phillipe the Original

In 1927, Harry and Dave Martin purchased Philippe’s from Mathieu for around $5,000. Until World War II, the restaurant was open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The restaurant grew steadily during the Great Depression of 1929 and World War II. Harry and Dave’s younger brother, Frank Martin, came into the picture to help run the restaurant full-time and brought in his son-in-law, William Binder, in the late 40s.

After 26 years on Aliso Street, Philippe’s was forced to move and make way for the Hollywood-Santa Ana 101 freeway. It relocated in 1951 to the corner of Alameda and Ord in Chinatown, the restaurant’s current location.

William’s sons, John and Richard Binder, joined the management team in 1967 and 1976, respectively, as third-generation owners alongside their father. The restaurant is still owned by the Binder/Martin family, including fourth-generation managers who run various departments today. After 45 years John retired but Richard is still the active general manager who oversees daily operations.

Philippe the Original, 1001 N. Alameda St., Chinatown; (213) 628-3781,

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.

LA Weekly