Pann’s history began with George and Rena Panagopoulos’ dream of moving to California and having a successful family business. George, a Greek immigrant, enlisted in the US Air Force and was later sent to Italy where he cooked in the field for our troops and Generals during World War II.
There, he became known as the cook with “Just Wonderful Food” as he traded with the locals for fresh vegetables and meats that couldn’t be found elsewhere. And that’s how Coffee Shops really began: with foods that had to be cooked fast, taste good, and done by someone with a whole lot of heart and a little entrepreneurial skill.
In early 1947 George cooked at The Pantry in North Hollywood for a year and then opened Rena’s Café in the heart of Inglewood. With no other staff, George cooked and Rena waited tables six days a week.
Then, in 1951, George learned how to really manage a full size restaurant at the Yum Burger on Manchester Blvd.. Following their hopes and dreams, they opened Pann’s in 1958. The futuristic design from Armet and Davis, George’s food and Rena’s hospitality ensured the restaurant’s immediate success, striking a chord with guests seeking freshness, quality and comfort in their dining experience.
The Panagopoulos family’s continued investment of the “Googie” style architecture allows both Angelinos and travelers an original fifty’s experience. The proud recipient of the Los Angeles Conservancy’s best example of “Classic 50’s Coffee Shop” architecture and a Los Angeles Magazine’s “Best of” award winner in food. Also know as the location choice for numerous films, XXX, BEWITCHED and NEXT. Our former Hawthorne location Holly’s, built in 1957 is remembered here with memorabilia from a lengthy coffee shop scene in PULP FICTION.
Through their many years of hard work George and Rena have inspired us to continue with their vision and commitment to excellence. “Rena, the “Queen of Hospitality”, passed away at the age of 100 years old on November 7, 2017. Greeting and embracing our long time patrons and warmly welcoming all of the new one was always a joyful experience for Rena. George and Rena’s spirit and love of the Pann’s ‘family’ will always be with us.