William "Bill" Otto Binder (February 28, 1915 – January 28, 2010) was an American restaurateur and businessman who ran the landmark Philippe's restaurant, known as Philippe the Original, downtown Los Angeles for decades. Philippe's, a mjor destination for locals and tourists, is famous for its French dip sandwiches, which are said to have been invented at Philippe's, and sawdust covered floors.
He moved with his family from their home in Chicago to southern California. Binder graduated from Calexico High School in 1933. He enlisted in the United States Marines during World War II in 1941. He was honorably discharged as a captain in the Marines in 1945, but remained in the United States Marine Corps Reserve until 1951, when he retired with the rank of Major.
In 1944, while still in the Marines, Binder married his wife, Beverly Martin. Her father, David Martin, and uncle, Harry Martin, had purchased Philippe's restaurant in Los Angeles from its founder and original owner, Philippe Mathieu, in 1927. Bill and Beverly had met at Frank's Place, a cafe owned by her father, located directly across the street from the Eastside Brewery, where Binder worked at the time.
Binder owned and operated a coffee shop in Los Angeles. After several years, Binder began working with his father-in-law at Philippe's following the death of Harry Martin. The family was forced to leave Philippe's original location on Aliso Street due to the construction of the Hollywood Freeway. They reopened Philippe's at its present location on Alameda Street near Olvera Street and Union Station in 1951.
David Martin persuaded Binder to run Philippe's at its now location. Binder kept the restaurant's menu virtually the same, focusing on its famous French dip sandwiches, which uses roast beef, ham, roast pork, lamb or turkey on a French roll, dipped in au jus.
Bill Binder retired in 1985, turning Philippe's over to his sons, John Binder and Richard Binder, who continue to run the restaurant as of February 2010. The brothers added new menu items, such as salads and turkey sandwiches, after Binder's retirement, though he continued to eat breakfast at Philippe's frequently.
Bill Binder died at a nursing facility in Pasadena, California, on January 28, 2010, at the age of 96. He was survived by his sons, John and Richard, who continue to run Philippe's; his daughter, Kathleen Binder Halstead, 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. His wife, Beverly, died in 2001. His memorial service was held at St. Therese Catholic Church in Alhambra, California.
- Thursby, Keith (2010-02-09). "William 'Bill' Binder dies at 94; ran Philippe's eatery". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 12 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-26.