Monday, January 21, 2008

LA Dining: Tommy's Hamburgers

I recently waxed poetic about the delight of In N Out burger. I hoped that Original Tommy's another long time California burger institution with several locations would offer me a similar experience. Given that the original location on Beverly and Rampart Boulevards still remains in business over 60 years later I figured that they must be doing something right. I am a sucker for vintage restaurants, especially from the mid century era. Back East White Manna and All American Drive In, two restaurants that have been making burgers as long as Tommy's are my favorite burger spots not just because the burgers are superb but because the buildings they serve them out of and the atmosphere they foster are pure Americana.

I visited both the Tommy's at its original location on Beverly and the one at 5873 Hollywood Blvd. While the former at least has some vintage charm and produced a decent although not world beating burger the Hollywood location, which looks like a generic fast food restaurant, is far harder to recommend.

Note that a "cheeseburger" at Tommy's includes a heaping helping of their "homemade" chili by default. It must be a California thing but I don't for the life of me understand why you would turn a burger in to what amounts to a very Sloppy Joe. The burger itself is on the lean side, being skinnier than an In N Out Burger patty, and the meat is not especially flavorful.

A cheeseburger without the chili from the original location. While it was not a spectacular burger, easily bested by In N Out it was not terrible either. The beef had a nice char although it was a bit too lean. Certainly there was no stinginess with the condiments and pickles. I wouldn't drive too far out of the way for this burger but I would not avoid it either. The Original locations at least has plenty of nostalgia.

The grill at the Original Tommy's.

While I found the burger from the Original location to be decent if ordered sans chili I cannot recommend the Hollywood Blvd location and I would imagine that the same holds true for the other restaurants in the chain. There was nothing special about the burgers at the latter, they were just average fast food drek. Tommy's tag line is " If you don't see the shack, Take it back." How true. If you don't see the original shack, don't bother with Tommy's.

The Original Tommy's

Multiple Locations

1 comment:

bertelle said...

Hi everyone,

This article is very interesting.
You can find the whole list of international Tommy's restaurants fast-foods restaurants at .
I will take more time now to read the others posts of this definitively interestant blog.

Thanks and good lunch/dinner :-)