Pann's Coffee Shop | Los Angeles Conservancy
Pann's Coffee Shop
Photo from Conservancy archives

Pann's Coffee Shop

Pann's is one of the last and best of the iconic futuristic coffee shops designed by the prolific firm of Armet & Davis. Its traffic island is an oasis of subtropical planting beneath an immense, hovering "tortoise shell" roof. An offkilter, animated neon sign bursts skyward. Inside, the restaurant boasts all of the hallmarks of the California coffee shop style—terrazzo floors, massive sheets of plate glass, a soaring roofline, flagstone walls, and planters rising out of the ground. Alan Hess writes in Googie: Fifties Coffee Shop Architecture that "these were places where George Jetson and Fred Flintstone could meet over a cup of coffee."

Louis Armet and Eldon Davis started their practice in 1947. In the period before 1970, they designed thousands of buildings in their distinct style—not just coffee shops, but private homes, markets, shopping centers, country clubs, even churches and cemeteries. Most of Armet & Davis' projects of this period contained custom-designed artwork, many in new materials such as plastics and resins. In addition to being a feast for the eyes, Pann's is notable for still being owned and lovingly cared for by family members of its original owners. Note the illustrated history of the owners' migration from Greece, across the U.S. to Los Angeles, near the Pann's entrance. In 1993, second-generation owner Jim Poulos completely restored Pann's to its 1958 glory, receiving a Conservancy Preservation Award for his efforts.

Photo by Michael Locke

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Photo by Laura Dominguez/L.A. Conservancy

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