Stepping into Papa Cristo’s on Pico Boulevard feels like leaning into a warm hug, and that’s largely by design. Just look at the mural on the side of the building, or nearly any photo of Chrys Chrys, the affable man behind one of Los Angeles’ most successful Greek restaurants. Arms wide, smile ready. This is a place of familiarity, and has been for decades.
Just east of Mid-City, itself a much-beloved neighborhood, you’ll find Pico-Union. Closer to downtown, this middle-space ‘hood takes slices of Koreatown, Guatemala and Mexico and patches them all together, with a not-insignificant Greek influence as well. This is where L.A.’s annual Greek Festival is held, surrounding a large orthodox church on the southeast corner of Pico and Normandie. And right across the street, look for the big blue awning to find Papa Cristo’s.
The Greek taverna / bakery has long been a home for hungry locals and quick-service lunchers needing a bite before moving on to points elsewhere. After 65 years it’s almost become part of the city dining zeitgeist, a favored place that is so reliable, so comforting, it’s rarely discussed. Not that anyone is trying to keep the sprawling corner eatery a secret; Papa Cristo’s just always has been, and always will be there.