“One day a fireman complained that his roll was stale,” Philippe Guilhem told the LA Times in a 2008 interview. “It was probably a Monday and the roll was a leftover from the weekend. My grandfather was a thrifty person. He said, 'Give me the damn thing back.' He dipped it in the juices and said, 'You happy now?'"
With a deliberate -- even vindictive -- first dipping, that sounds very different from either version of the story that Philippe's current owners are telling. But while he was closer to the source than Philippe's modern management, Guilheim was still telling a story that was at best second hand and already around 90 years old.
The actual closest that we can get to the horse's mouth is a 1951 LA Times interview with Mathieu. The article was written on the occasion of Philippe's relocating to make way for the Hollywood Freeway.
“One day a police officer asked me if I would mind splitting one of these large loaves of French bread and filling it with 'some of the delicious roast pork,'” said Mathieu. “I was not too busy, so I said, 'Sure.' Then he asked me to 'please cut it in half. I've got a friend outside who can eat it.' Then he asked for some pickles, onions and olives.”