While Los Angeles mourned the supposed loss of the Pacific Dining Car, new information from this weekend’s LA Magazine article seems to indicate that fans of the restaurant might have something to look forward to once the dust settles. It was difficult to feel reassured since the nearly 100-year-old restaurant has been auctioning off everything from kitchen equipment, antique lamps, cloth napkins, and even those pea soup green-colored leather booths, to the massive steers that decorated the front of the restaurant for decades.
However, the owner Wes Idol III — the great-grandson of Pacific Dining Car founders Fred and Grace “Lovey” Cook — is now saying everything that was auctioned off needed to get replaced anyway, and that essential photos and artwork, or items of historical or personal interest, were retained. [This writer unsuccessfully bid on the locomotive wall art.]
Idol told LA Magazine a few other important details to the situation, most saliently that his family owns the building and that he has “zero interest in having my family’s legacy go away.” In addition, sales of the auctioned off items means Idol hopes to perform a redecoration and renovation, though he said “it’s not as dramatic as it seems.” Idol says while those plans to renovate are currently on hold, this period in the century-old restaurant’s history is “not the end of anything. This is the beginning of something.” What’s difficult to swallow is just how vague Idol’s plans seem to be right now, except for a clear pivot to a new business model.
A few weeks ago, Eater reported on a different business model for Pacific Dining Car, namely frozen steaks and other dishes prepared sold under the restaurant’s branding that could be heated up very easily at home. But LA Magazine’s piece sheds light on a new beef dry-aging operation that will take place in the building; in fact, Idol claims that it was his great-grandfather who originally introduced dry-aged beef to LA. Those frozen steaks could be available for delivery as early as Thanksgiving or Christmas, just in time for the holiday season.
A few weeks back, there was quite a stir over whether the historic Pacific Dining Car would close permanently. PDC’s Santa Monica location is definitely closed for good, but it turns out with the family owning the building, and a committed owner looking to pivot to a new model, this could give diners a glimmer of hope for grilled baseball steaks and stiff martinis. Oh, and for anyone curious, the final bid for those iconic cows was only $7,250.