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Dec 7, 2003 04:50 PM

Are new Tommy's burger locations as good as original?

  • b

I'm a big fan of the Original Tommy's at Rampart & Beverly. There's always a line and burgers are freshly made with fresh ingredients. Love hearing tourists order "no chili on mine".

I've noticed more and more satellite locations popping up and I'm wondering if the food is as good as the original. Was just Long Beach and Westminster near me, plus the one in the Valley. Now they got 'em in Hollywood and on the way to Vegas.

For those of you familiar with the original at it's best let me know your impressions of the satellite locations.

One thing they've added that I love is the breakfast sandwich. No one is perfect including Tommy's, they put mayo on it (huh?). Skip the mayo and mustard and just get the egg, sausage, chili, tomato, onions and cheese. Awesome at 5am!

PP Tommy's fan

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  1. The food is identical at all Tommy's locations. Only the original has the self-service bottled/canned drink coolers. Other than that, what you don't get at the outlying locations is the unique ambience that only exists at the original location.

    I first started going to Tommy's in 1964 when the stand at Beverly & Rampart was the sole location. I believe they started expanding wih additional locations in the 1970's. The Hollywood and Barstow (on the way to Vegas) locations aren't new. They have existed for 10 years or so.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Sam D.

      I remember Tommy's Burgers in Eagle Rock, California, because it was my first outing with my soon to be first boyfriend (and for 4 1/2 years). A group of us went to get a "Tommy Burger" - what sounded like a cool fad thing to do - before we went to the bowling alley - all rather far from our homes. I was 16 and hadn't been far on my own. I guess that's about 1973 or so. Thanks for the memory.

      I remember really liking the chili on the burger then (and dipping in the french fries) and can kind of reproduce the same flavor I remember with some soft chorizo, cream cheese, and lentils. Put a slice of tomato, onion, with some lettuce on really soft bun with the smoky grilled hamburger and chilli and you're "there."

      I think we only went there that once. Bowling, too. We both liked other places in areas we frequented more (like Tressles via Porsche).

      When I saw a Tommy's about ten years ago, I was tempted to try one because of the old memory. Not bad. Still quite a good memory, though.

      1. re: kc girl

        Go for it, try it again. For some reason I can eat Tommy's late on not feel full the next day. You really need to go because you forgot that they put lettuce on their burgers. They don't and that's one of the things that makes it so deep brain good...

        * patty
        * chili
        * tomato
        * onion
        * pickle
        * mustard

        That's the classic combo. It wouldn't be the same if you left anything out or substituted.

        BP Tommy's fan

        1. re: BP

          And they didn't have fries at Eagle Rock Tommy's in 1973. Fries didn't show up until the latter half of the 80's...Oh yeah, and you went to a batting cage and not bowling...!

          1. re: BP

            It's pretty good with grilled onions. I didn't like the giant slice of tomato when I first started eating there, but it offsets the chili superbly and now I can't imagine not having it. God that place is good. I usually go to the one in Santa Monica, but I've been to the one in SFV/North Hills (on Roscoe?) and the original and all are excellent.
            Their chili dog kicks Pink's chili dog's ass, the dog itself is far better.

            1. re: BP

              yup, you are right there's something about that combo, it's sacrosanct and I wouldn't dream of "customizing" a tommy's burger. I also remember when it was "no fries, chips" and their offering for dessert consisted of those Hostess fruit pies, IIRC. I do love their chili cheese fries.

          2. re: Sam D.

            Perhaps it's psychological, but my experience is that the food at the Hollywood location is much worse than the food at the original Tommy's. The service was very poor at the Hollywood branch too. Maybe the ingredients are the same, but they don't do a good job cooking them at some locations. My view on it is stick to the original.

          3. I haven't been to Tommy's since I went to UCLA. So eager to try the breakfast sand, based on your note. Thanks for the write-up.

            1 Reply
            1. re: LawrenceS

              BTW the breakfast sandwich is not new, it's been around for the last 25+ years at the Tommys on Roscoe/405. I order it without the sausage; the egg and chili combo is a winner IMO.

            2. Who ever says "no chili on mine"? Damn them all to hell.

              Great, sloppy burger after a night of drinking. Other than the random gunfire, a delicious, pleasant experience.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Bostonbob3

                "Who ever says "no chili on mine"? Damn them all to hell."

                Amen and Hallelujah!

                I would concur that they represent a most consistent chain, right up there with In And Out (consistency-wise, InO is much better quality).

                And let's not forget the formidable Tommy's breakfast sandwich:

                Fried Egg, Sausage Patty, Cheese, Chili, Pickle, Onions and Mayo on an English Muffin. They DO serve lettuce on that one, but I 86 it and have them add mustard. Magnificent. Many a morning I could be found at the Huntington Beach location with either 1 of those and a loaded dog or 2 breakfast sannies and an orange drink (it is breakfast after all).

                1. re: GroovinGourmet

                  In-n-Out may be better beef and potato quality, but imagine if In-n-Wait got the huge crush of diners Tommy's gets after a Dodgers or USC game. People would be standing in line for five-and-a-half hours waiting for food. The Tommy's crew is a beautifully efficient piece of machinery whereas In-n-Wait is Just. So. Incredibly. Slow.

              2. I haven't been to the original Tommy's location, but of the other locations I've visited, they all seem to be pretty consistent in the quality of the food.

                1. My friends and I made a pilgrimage (yes, pilgrimage) to the original on beverely and rampart last year. tasted exactly the same as the one I usually go to in Santa Monica. Very tasty!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: young_chower

                    My older sisters were eating Tommy burgers since about first one was around 1968..I went to school near there during those years. Later, we'd go to the Eagle Rock location while attending Glendale Jr. College. I've also been to the valley location. But, I was super happy to have the Palmdale location open up....(maybe a year ago). That is the closest one to me (still an hour and a half away). I find its just as good as any....I love them!!My husband did not like them at first but he loves them now...they "grew" on him...ha ha.
                    However, my friend says the Barstow location is not as good....I don't know that myself.