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Pantry offers breakfast for 85 cents

April 29, 2009 12:13:01 PM PDT
A downtown landmark, The Original Pantry Cafe, celebrated its 85th anniversary on Wednesday by offering a short stack of pancakes and a cup of coffee for only 85 cents. A big birthday cake decorated a counter that has seen decades-worth of customers.

"Food is good, the price is right, and the service is great, " said one customer.

The Pantry first opened its doors in 1924, just one block west of its current location at 9th and Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles, where it has been since 1950.

While other downtown diners have come and gone, The Pantry has stood the test of time, thanks to faithful customers.

For decades, The Pantry has been serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A window sign proudly says, "Never been closed since 1924."

Judge Ron Coen said he's been coming to The Pantry for 36 years and likes to gather here with his friends.

"We meet here once a week," he said. "Just a tradition. It's hard to break."

Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan is the current owner, who stepped in to buy the cafe in the 1980s when there was talk the diner would close.

Riordan turned out to greet early morning customers on Wednesday and to serve up coffee.

"I fell in love with it one day. I was sitting here just before I bought it, and one of the waiters saw me reading the newspaper after breakfast and said, 'Hey buddy, if you want to read, go up to the library, it's at Fifth and Hope,'" he said.

"If they can insult me like that, it's got to be good."