Pann’s is a decorative crazy quilt: part medieval grotto (ponderous stone walls), part spaceship-boomerang panache, and part plush tailfin automobile upholstery. In other words, it is a prime example of what is known as Googie style, aka Do-Wop design, that thrived in mid 20th century America, especially in Southern California.
Like the place itself, the menu is a trip back in time. Here you find such coffee shop standards as roast turkey with cornbread stuffing, liver & onions, chicken & waffles, mile-high layer cakes, and tapioca pudding. The broad repertoire includes steaks & chops, Greek and Cobb salads (which the menu reminds us are served chilled), six-slice BLTs, and triple-decker chicken club sandwiches. The house-specialty Dreemburger (“Made the same way since 1958”) is a Sunday-go-to-meetin’-dressed vintage-SoCal paradigm, upgraded to a brioche bun.
“Original recipe” fried chicken comes enveloped in a dark gold crust as luxurious as crisp bacon. Side-dish mashed potatoes are available with white gravy, brown gravy, or country sausage gravy. Accompanying buttermilk biscuits come with butter and bubble packs of honey. Unlike fluffy southern-style biscuits, these are dense and heavy. But I don’t mean that in a bad way. Their avoirdupois is a style unto itself.
Beverages include milk shakes and malts, strawberry lemonade, and root beer floats. If you order coffee, the uniformed waitress corps will top it off approximately every 90 seconds.
Pann’s does not serve the greatest food in Los Angeles, but it is one of the greatest places. If you appreciate extreme restaurant design, there is no more stunning example of a mid-20th century West Coast coffee shop.