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Original Pantry Cafe Celebrates 90th Anniversary

Original Pantry Cafe
The Original Pantry Cafe celebrated its 90th Anniversary on May 14. (Courtesy image)

Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, owner of the iconic Original Pantry, celebrated the restaurant’s 90th anniversary on May 14 by offering free pancakes and coffee to customers.

The pancakes and coffee remained free through 3 p.m. at the Original Pantry, which has continuously served customers since 1924, Riordan said.

“It’s never been closed 24 hours a day and always has a customer,” Riordan said.

When the Pope-mobile rolled by in the 1980s, many customers went out to the street to catch a glimpse.

“The L.A. Times thought they had finally caught us without a customer, and the reporter went in and there was one customer still there at the counter,” Riordan said with a laugh. “I think he was an atheist.”

The downtown restaurant at 877 South Figueroa Street has a special place in the heart of Cyndi Rivera, whose father brought her there as a child.

“My father worked for the railroad so he would bring me here for breakfast, my mom as well,” Rivera said. “I just remember coming here for early breakfast and having corned beef and hash and eggs and pork chops.”

Hilbetta Goff, who has been a customer since 1969, said the good food and large portions bring her back.

“I like the bargain breakfast they have,” Goff said. “You can have anywhere from steak and bacon and eggs, whatever you want and exactly the way you like it.”

Riordan said the restaurant is like a home for many.

“People feel like it is part of a family, part of their home,” Riordan said. “So many come in here and say my grandfather, my parents took me here, 30 or 40 years ago.”

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