A weekend Facebook notification for a restaurant equipment auction has caused quite a stir, with longstanding late-night steakhouse Pacific Dining Car at the center of it all. This auction, which formally gets underway this week, is the source of the controversy, showing a full array of kitchen equipment, historic items, and decor touches all for sale from the historic restaurant at 1310 W. 6th Street, just west of Downtown proper. So what’s actually happening at the 99-year-old Pacific Dining Car?
Despite a flurry of worried tweets and Facebook posts, reps for Pacific Dining Car say the restaurant is not going away entirely. However, with restaurants already mired in six months of uncertainty and debt as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — and with no vaccine, “return to normal,” or federal financial intervention coming any time soon — ownership has decided to sell off the estate, as it were, and move entirely online. For the average fan, that means a few different things.
First up is Pacific Dining Car’s new online store, where diners can buy steaks and rubs and other foodstuffs on an ongoing basis. This is different than the one-time rare wine bottle sell-off at Pacific Dining Car that took place earlier this summer, in that the steaks and other items will continue to be available, as well as various merch items with the old PDC cow logo. Second, ownership says that while the Downtown-adjacent restaurant itself won’t reopen any time soon, they are not ruling out a future that still includes delivery, takeout, and dine-in at some point. “Pacific Dining Car is not going away,” they say in an email to Eater, adding: “We’re rethinking the whole business model.”
Pacific Dining Car is far from the first restaurant during this ongoing COVID-19 crisis to rethink its business model, or close its physical location entirely. The family already sold off its Santa Monica location earlier this summer amid the worsening pandemic, and now it remains unknown whether or not Angelenos will be able to eat a famed Pacific Dining Car baseball steak in at 2 a.m. anytime soon. As for the auction of items, fans can pick up just about everything from inside the restaurant and out, including the iconic cow sign that sits in the parking lot.