[KCET] The Century-Long History of Philippe’s and Its Famous French Dip Sandwich


The fouth 'graph debates who was first, which Thrillist seems to have pegged 7 months back:

tl;dr an account from a 1915 interview w/ Phillipe Mathieu (Phillipe’s founder) seems to point pretty strongly to him as the original, but the first one was pork, not beef.

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As far as I’m concerned I’m only interested in one controversy: How is Phillipe’s pronounced?


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In the event you’re actually asking, I would guess it’s "fih-LEEP’, since he was french and all…

You are not from here, perhaps?

I was alluding to this:

As to who is the first? It matters not because Phillipe’s is superior!

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Whoa. I’ve been pronouncing it wrong for like 15 yrs! ::sigh::

There is no wrong. Only do. Or do not.

Or something like that.


Hi @paranoidgarliclover,

Well, I don’t know if anyone’s to blame. Philippe’s is running commercials right now, and their paid commercials pronounce the name as “Phil-LEEPS”. :unamused: Uh… So either they have ZERO quality control, or their Marketing department doesn’t care, or their name can be pronounced however people want, LOL. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Well, I was but I’m in Canada now… I was in LA for 5 years and never heard ‘phill-ee-pees’ ever. I’d hear ‘fey-LEE-pays’ from people who natively spoke spanish or Italian. And if that’s how the owner pronounces it, it’s his, he can call it what he wants.

But I still liked Cole’s better. Best one’s still Rutherford Grill up in Napa, though.

Yes, Rutherford Grill is better, but it’s triple the price and made with prime rib.

Thanks again @Chowseeker1999 for your French Dip comparisons. Need to add my post and pic from Uva Bar.

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I’m just giving you the business. :slight_smile:
My point was I’m a Phillipe’s guy always and forever so the unending controversy of which restaurant invented the French dip is less interesting to me than the fact that native Angelenos can’t even agree on a pronunciation for Phillipe’s! And it’s definitely not broken up by heritage. Plenty of Romance language challenged people say fell-LEE-pays. A linguistic controversy so much more interesting than who made what first, I think.
The fact that the “correct” way to pronounce the name is said by exactly no one but the owner is funny to me.

As to Rutherford’s (or Gjusta or even Houstons), we can’t really compare these prime rib sandwiches that cost about $20 to the humble sandwiches at Phillipe’s can we? If we must I think I’ll take the sawdust and the mustard and the Dodger game package over the fancy sandwich.

Oh man… I can’t believe I forgot Gjusta. Yeah, that is a pretty tasty sandwich. Only got to have it once, though. The west side is a pain in the ass if you’re not already there.

I think that, not being a longtime Angeleno, Phillipe’s charm isn’t QUITE strong enough to make me forget that the sandwich was fine… but just fine.

Then again, I suspect no one in their right mind would claim that my old neighborhood hotdog joint in chicago was anything special either. And they weren’t. They were just mine.

but seriously… FIL-ih-pees? wtf, man…

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pretty much.

Is it possible to get more than 1 meat in the sandwich?

Thinking about remixing it with a 2 different meats, and sides.

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That’s a very fair assessment. I have to recuse myself when judging Phillipe’s, Apple Pan, etc. I’d even bet that if I went too long between visits then I’d lose the magic, too.

Right? I love it because it means no one wins the fill-EEPS v fill-EEP-ehs argument.


Also, you’re a genius.

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Longtime Phillipe’s fan here – had my first French Dip there over 50 years ago as a kid. My Dad took me, and I remember one of the first things he told me when we approached the place was how to pronounce it, noting that a lot of people didn’t say it right. He pronounced it like the owner does in the NPR piece, and so have I, and so do my kids. (Got to pass that stuff on…)