Philippe’s is a no-frills sandwich shop in downtown L.A. that’s been around for almost a century. Government employees, famous actors, homeless people and tourists all sit elbow to elbow on communal benches savoring the famous “French Dipped” sandwich. The walls are covered with old sports photos and the floors with sawdust.
The only thing that’s drastically changed about this place in all these years…is the price of coffee. That’s gone from five cents a cup to ten, to the great dismay of some of the old-timer regulars who’ve been coming here for decades.
Recently Elias Barajas, who’s worked at Philippe’s for 39 years, came to the StoryCorps booth with Mark Massengill, whose family has owned the restaurant since 1927. Elias is planning to retire soon and Mark wanted to record some of his stories for posterity. “This was kind of nice,” said Elias after the interview. “We see each other all the time, but we never really get a chance to just sit down and talk.” In this photo, Mark is telling us that Elias, a self-professed workaholic, is planning on taking his first Sunday off in 39 years.