BIG DIPPER: French dip fans make a beeline to Philippe the Original Restaurant, where the famous sandwich was created in 1918 when owner Philippe Mathieu accidentally dropped a piece of French bread into a warm roast while serving a guest. The humble restaurant boasts sentimental artwork and a hungry crowd of patrons, from fashion mavens to well-mannered bankers. Customers choose from “single dipped,” “double dipped” or “wet” sandwiches ($5.35). Philippe’s also offers sides like potato salad and cream-of-spinach soup, and for dessert, an old-fashioned baked apple, doughnuts and cream pie.

BIG RED: First built as a fire station in 1912, Engine Co. No. 28 has kept vestiges of its history alive with its original red-brick flooring, tin ceilings and double-arched entry. Renovated in 1983, the Engine Co. was recognized as a historic cultural landmark by the city, so it’s only fitting the restaurant serves traditional American fare like macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and spicy buffalo wings. Business and casual types line up for family favorites like chicken pot pie ($17.75), firehouse chili, crab cakes and turkey burgers from $8.95 to $14.50.

This story first appeared in the March 12, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.