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Tommy's Joynt, SF report w/ pics

My first time eating at Tommy's Joynt was Sun 3/30/08 for dinner. We got there about 5pm and there was a line but it moves fast. They have daily specials & lots of meat dishes. This is just hofbrau food. You order when you get near someone that can help you then pay..CASH ONLY.

Water & silver wear near the end of the line so grab them before getting a seat somewhere.

We got:

Braised lamb shank $8.25- pretty tasty lamb shank. Boring potatoes & carrots. I tried one tiny potato & it's just broiled & boring. Carrots didn't try. Comes with 1 sourdough roll.

Friend got a pastrami & roast beef sandwich on sourdough roll. It was just ok. Comes with a small container of au jour which was fine. Pastrami & roast beef were both dry. $8.50 + $1 for additional meat.

Side of cucumber salad just ok. They have international beer-I don't drink beer so didn't care. Saw some cops ordering food there, that's cool.

Total was a little over $17.

Separate bathrooms upstairs. Women just one toilet & 1 sink.

My pics:

Tommy's Joynt
1101 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94109

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  1. Thanks for the report. What'd you think overall? Return or not?

    My feeling is like many bargain places (taquerias, mom and pop Chinese), you have to wade through the menu to see what works for you in particular. It can take a while.

    At Tommy's I usually get the turkey dinner or turkey leg with beets. I'm always happy with these. Second choices are the brisket (only okay, if you want beef), the lamb shank and once in a while the buffalo stew (it's been awhile). When I lived in SF it was often on the route home (by car) and I'd go every two months or so. Good winter food...or in July if you're heading to the Richmond. .

    1 Reply
    1. re: ML8000

      I thought it was fine for hofbrau & reasonably priced. Since I don't live in SF I probably would go elsewhere to try other places.

    2. Several times recently I've seen Tommy's Joynt recommended as a "must" for visitors. I just don't get that at all!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Atomica

        I see a lot of out-of-towners in there, in droves. I think it's a safe bet, cheap, has an accessible palette and has "character" but must have...you can get the same stuff pretty much any where in the U.S. Despite that, it's fine for what it is. Not a foodie place but in context of SF, a nice change up.

      2. The sandwiches are $5.50 plus $1 for a second meat. I usually get the turkey; the corned beef looked good. I'd stick to that next time.

        The gravy on the lamb shank was delicious. Worth sopping up with the roll.

        Noticed they have a pretty good bar--there was a special on Junipero martinis for $7.

        1. You may be confused between "au jour" (of the day) and " a jus" (with gravy). got to give Tommy credit tho...still there after over 50 years and going strong. Many bankrupt wannabe restauranteurs could learn a few things.

          1 Reply
          1. re: OldTimer

            The food's decent in my eyes, but it's just not special - I have to echo that I don't understand it as a must for visitors. It's hard to ruin braised lamb shank, and I don't remember the stew we had being particularly good.

            And after receiving a slew of unprovoked racial slurs and threats there from another customer on our last visit (which, to be fair, was years ago), I won't be back. We ignored him, but it was a pretty uncomfortable situation. The staff did nothing - and though I didn't really expect them to do anything, the food's just simply not worth returning for.

            also, not to be snotty- but that's "du jour" and "au jus" - but i'm not sure there was even really any confusion to begin with?

          2. I won't go back for the turkey sandwich. Even though they had just brought out a newly cooked whole turkey from which they carved the meat, it tasted like it was low-quality, frozen turkey that had been steamed or boiled - no flavor to the meat. Cheap roll. For half the price, and for about the same quality, go to any off the Lee's Delis that are all over the FiDi.

            1. Looks like not much has changed since my long ago visit ... surprisingly even the prices. I felt my arteries clogging just looking at some of those pics.

              Who knew they served food till 1:45 am daily? Seriously ... all the time I lived in SF, never knew that.

              Tommy's Joynt
              1101 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94109

              1. I've been to Tommy's twice. Once about 12 years ago and another time about 10 years ago. I'm from San Diego and happened upon the place because it was near the hotels that I stayed at. I agree, the food was mixed but there was something comfortable and friendly about the place. The choices were unique (hofbrau isn't everywhere), the selection of beers was awesome, and the energy about the place was impressive. It's a place I've remembered clearly ever since. I can clearly see why it's on "must visit" lists for San Francisco. Some of the foods are great, others I found dry or bland. Slight improvements in food quality would turn this busy place into a MAJOR landmark.

                1. Tommy's has been a local landmark "must visit" for tourists since at least the 1950's, which was when I first got there. Just enuf boho eccentricity, along with cheap prices and good relaxed vibes keeps it memorable. In the early '70's, we would gather there after our feminist meetings and kick back and shift gears. I have a permanent warm spot in my heart for the place.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Sharuf

                    We were in San Francisco over the weekend and my husband insisted we go to Tommy's Joynt (which he saw on Drive Ins, Diners and Dives). The atmosphere is quite interesting to say the least. Staff were very friendly and accomodating (we asked for an extra plate as they give you heaps of food) We arrived at about 4:30 pm after a long day at the Academy of Sciences, which was lucky for us as a huge lineup formed shortly after that.

                    Brisket looked juicy and delicious, plus the lamb shanks looked great. The corn beef also looked really good. We shared a turkey plate (roast turkey, pretty good sourdough bun, baked beans, mashed potatoes) I thought we got veggies with that too, but we didn't bother to ask. All this for $8.95.

                    It was quite good for what it is -- plain home cooking like grandma used to make. They had brussel sprouts and green beans for veggies and the green beans were the frozen cut up kind, swimming in their cooking water on the steam table. The brussel sprouts actually looked appetizing, with bits of onion and finely diced red pepper. The turkey did not taste cheap at all (we're the type that buys range fed, organic turkeys), it tasted like an average roast supermarket turkey. We asked for some white and dark meat. The dark meat was a little stringy, but otherwise, juicy. The white meat was actually very moist. Potatoes tasted like instant and the dressing was pretty good. I must say the baked beans were outstanding; they were obviously homemade, and had chunks of ham in them. Gravy seemed homemade. We did not have any dessert, but there was a selection of cake and pies that looked like they were from a supermarket -- imagine chocolate birthday cake from Safeway complete with neon blue rosettes.

                    Overall, we would go back, as we liked the funky, friendly atmosphere, and for what it was, we had a fairly tasty meal. We loved the self-service pickle barrel. My advice is if you go, expect plain, un-fancy food.