Cole's Pacific Electric Buffet

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Cole's Pacific Electric Buffet
Sign above the restaurant
Restaurant information
Established 1908
Food type Diner
Dress code Casual
Street address 118 East 6th Street
City Los Angeles
County Los Angeles
State California
Postal code/ZIP 90014
Country United States
Coordinates 34°02′41″N 118°14′58″W / 34.04478°N 118.24943°W / 34.04478; -118.24943Coordinates: 34°02′41″N 118°14′58″W / 34.04478°N 118.24943°W / 34.04478; -118.24943

Cole's Pacific Electric Buffet, also known as Cole's P.E. Buffet, is a restaurant and bar located at 118 East 6th Street in the Historic Core district of downtown Los Angeles, California.

Sign in front with claim to being the oldest bar in Los Angeles

Cole's had boasted being the oldest restaurant and bar in the city of Los Angeles continuously operated from the same location--inclusive of a shutdown for major remodeling on March 15, 2007. The restaurant's new owner, downtown bar/restaurant entrepreneur Cedd Moses, was quoted in the Los Angeles Downtown News, saying the restaurant would reopen in time for its 100th anniversary in January 2008;[1] however, the project was delayed,[2] and Cole's finally reopened in December 2008.[3]

Cole's was founded in 1908 by Henry Cole on the ground floor of the Pacific Electric Building, which served as the main terminal for the Pacific Electric Railway. Cole's unique table tops were made from the varnished doors of retired Red Cars of the Pacific Electric Railway. The tables were removed as part of the renovation and were reportedly relocated to the developer's nearby corporate headquarters above Clifton's Cafeteria.

The restaurant claims (along with Philippe's) that the first French dip sandwich was served at Cole's in the same year. Some have suggested that Philippe's is the original, as the sandwich was named "French" dip because of the original proprietor Philippe Mathieu's French heritage.[4] However, according to carvers at Cole's, Henry Cole first dipped the French bread in jus at the request of a customer who had had recent dental work. The French bread was too hard and it hurt this customer's teeth, so Henry dipped the bread in order to soften it. Other customers, with perfectly good teeth, saw Henry dip the bread and requested that he do the same for them - and thus the French dip was born. Other theories exist, so debate is likely to continue.

Henry Cole also operated Los Angeles's first check cashing service from the restaurant.[citation needed]

Cole's was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1989.[5]


  1. ^ Maese, Kathryn (March 19, 2007). "Taking the Dip at Cole's". Los Angeles Downtown News. Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  2. ^ Maese, Kathryn (January 7, 2008). "What's On the Menu?". Los Angeles Downtown News. Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  3. ^ Gelt, Jessica (December 8, 2008). "A new owner restores Cole's merry old soul". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Publishing). Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  4. ^ Hauler, Joe (January 16, 2004). "A Tale of Two (French) Dips: The Sandwich That People Love to Debate". Los Angeles Downtown News. Archived from the original on September 23, 2010. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Historic - Cultural Monuments (HCM) Listing: City Declared Monuments" (PDF). Los Angeles Department of City Planning. August 14, 2008. Retrieved January 19, 2009. 

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