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Tommy's Frozen Chili in Ralph's or Food for Less?

Hi All,

I've been reading for quite some time that Tommy's Chili will be available in the frozen section of Food for Less and/or Ralph;s Markets.

I called the Food for Less in North Hollywood yesterday and was told they didn't carry it, however, the worker on the phone said the Manager of that Food for Less saw it at a Ralph's in Hollywood. He didn't know which one.

I called about eight Ralph's in the Studio City/Sherman Oaks/North Hollywood area and no one said they carried it - when I asked about it, no one ever heard of it and they all kind of thought I was crazy.

Has anyone seen the frozen Tommy's restaurant chili in a San Fernando Valley location?


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  1. Maybe calll the one in Hollywood at Western & Hollywood. The Tommy's on Hollywood by the 101frwy also sells the containers to go in different sizes. Buy it there and freeze it.

    1. I will keep my eye out for it, you can buy it directil from Tommy's in the half and full gallon.

      1 Reply
      1. re: malibumike

        Don't think its half gallon or gallon. The largest container I saw at Tommy's was a quart if that.

      2. Tonight stopped at Tommy's in Pasadena. As much as I like Tommy's the chili is kind of pasty and I can't figure out if there's any meat in it at all. There are lumps of something, but I don't think its meat.

        You're better of with Dolores Chili Brick which can be found in many local Southern California grocery stores or Smart & Final. Wouldn't surprise me if Dolores originally made the chili for Tommy's many years ago. Try it, I think you'll find it better than Tommy's.

        8 Replies
        1. re: monku

          Dolores Chili is the chili that Phillipe's uses. I see it at Albertsons.

          1. re: chuck

            Are there specific locations of Smart and Final and/or Albertsons in the San Fernando Valley that definitely stock Dolores Chili?

            1. re: rockhead

              I would think most if not all Smart & Finals, it is a common item.

              1. re: rockhead

                I just bought it at the store in Camarillo. Just ask, it is usually on a bottom shelf and you cannot see it easily.

            2. re: monku

              Isn't Dolores chili brick the one that's made with beef hearts? I'd rather have chili sans organ meat myself. yuck.

              1. re: macnut

                I always get a bowl of chili when I go to Phillipe's. I looked at the package of Dolores chili at the market the other day and it does list beef hearts. Now my chili days there may be over.

                1. re: chuck

                  Who cares.....it tasted good all these years didn't it?
                  There's organ meats in lots of stuff you're eating but don't know it yet.

            3. Frozen Chasen's chili is available at Gelsons, at least the Calabasas store. A bit pricey, but it tastes just like the old days and is a lot more convenient than making your own knock-off. And it DOES have real meat in it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: TomSwift

                Doesn't the Chasen's chili have beans in it?
                I've tried the many Chasen's knock off recipes and I thought there were beans. When it comes right down to it the chili at Wendy's is very similar and it's pretty good. Nothing wrong with it but its a pretty pedestrian chili and recipe.

              2. I used to live in the North Hollywood area about 20yrs ago. There was an awesome chili place in Burbank, on Magnolia if memory serves me correctly. What I do remember is that they had some of the best chili and they packaged it to go as well. Maybe someone else on the board knows the name of the place and if it's still there or not.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ITry

                  I'm pretty sure you're talking about Chili John's

                  Chili John's
                  2018 W Burbank Blvd, Burbank, CA 91506

                2. http://www.tommyschilifactory.com/
                  is this what you are talking about? maybe you can contact them for updates on locations, it seems like they are only online for now. it was in an ad in the LA Times saying they are at select Food for Less locations. Good luck!

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: LakerFan

                    Looking at the website this doesn't even look like it's remotely related to The Original Tommy's.
                    Talk about a copy-cat.

                    1. re: monku

                      Sorry....spoke too soon, but he is Tommy Jr. the son of Tommy Koulax the founder of The Original Tommy's. Still doesn't seem to be connected to the Original Tommy's though.

                      Says Tommy Jr. "wanted to share his own classic foods with people everywhere", doesn't appear it's The Original Tommy's chili.

                      1. re: monku

                        lol, i had the same first reaction as you monku, but yes it is the original Tommy's son. I figured this was what the OP was talking about since I couldn't find anything about Original Tommys selling in stores. Here's some more info I found: http://fastfood.freedomblogging.com/2...
                        "Warning: The chili is not the same stuff found slathered on burgers sold at the iconic Los Angeles-based chain. But it’s pretty darn close, according to Tommy Koulax Jr., whose father founded Original Tommy’s in 1946."

                        If anyone tries it let me know how it tastes! Otherwise I'll just get chili to go at Tommy's

                        1. re: LakerFan

                          "He maintains that this recipe is a “slightly thicker” and meatier version of the chili used today in Tommy’s restaurants."

                          As I said in the above post, I don't know what those lumps are in The Original Tommy's chili, so any meat Tommy Jr's putting in will definitely make it "meatier".

                          Another thing missing from Tommy's Jr.'s web site is "If you don't see the shack, take it bacK".

                          Explains how Tommy Jr. is able to come so close to copying almost everything about The Original Tommy's except for calling it that.

                          1. re: monku

                            I think there is a seperation of siblings, an infight as it were. Not really sure what he can and can not say. I am sure the chili is good if you like their chili. Me, my "Chili God" Jay Coffin closed up shop and now the recipe for Jay's chili sits waiting to rise from the rubble. LongLive Jay's Jayburgers!

                            1. re: Burger Boy

                              Quick Google says that Bob Auerbach a step son of Tommy Koulax runs The Original Tommy's empire.

                              1. re: Burger Boy

                                Interesting Tommy Jr. fooled Ralphs and Food4Less to carry his "knock off" chili. Only other place he's selling it is on eBay and Amazon. (Along with the OP).

                                Had me going for a second there too.

                    2. I would imagine that the frozen variety doesn't stand up to the original. You want Tommy's chili, go to Tommy's. I like the Eagle Rock location myself. The Santa Monica one is not quite the same for some reason.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: ohdaylay

                        I almost think it could be better because of the meat factor. Next time you're at Tommy's take a close look at the chili and tell if that's meat you see.

                        1. re: monku

                          Not sure what it is. Well, it is tasty.

                        2. re: ohdaylay

                          Never been to the SM location. I know the ER location seems different from the Pasadena location...must be those cold concrete outdoor tables and benchs that makes the difference for me. Plus at the Pasadena location you get real napkins and not paper towels....another Tommy's original.

                        3. Bristol Farms is great place to go for really good chili. It's in the homemade soup section, near the deli. They usually have Roadhouse Chili, Snake-Bite Chili, or Basil-Chicken Chili. They are all delicious and full of meat and vegetables, with some nice heat.

                          1. Tommy's purchases their Chili from RC Provisions out of Burbank. You'll need to find someone with a foodservice account with Sysco to order as it isn't available retail.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: Sunabe1

                              Are you certain of this? The highly touted "famous" housemade chili is from RC Provisions?

                              1. re: TomSwift

                                Can't imagine they'd sell Original Tommy's chili to just anyone. They may have an arrangement where RC makes it to Tommy's specs and they store and deliver it to Tommy's.

                                If it wasn't labelled Original Tommy's Chili who would buy that dreck stuff anyway.

                                1. re: TomSwift

                                  I am sure...confirmed by RC Provisions. Tommy's does add it own spices and flour I understand at their locations but the chili straight from RC is 95% there already. They're sold in 5-pound bricks/tubes and all you have to do is add water to get the correct consistency. I understand Carney's uses the same Chili as well....

                                  1. re: Sunabe1

                                    If Tommy's and Carney's is using it then other places are using it too.

                                    Just for clarification....RC Provisions makes this chili or do they distribute it ? If you were able to order it from Sysco what is it called?

                                    1. re: monku

                                      RC Provisions make the chili. It is sold under their label through Sysco in 20 pound cases (4 five pound bricks). I believe RC Provisions may also produce pastrami for Langers.

                                      1. re: Sunabe1

                                        Found RC Provisions Chili at Canton Food in downtown LA.
                                        Cash and carry no membership required. Open 7 days at 7:30am.

                                        5 pound frozen chub for $10.25. In the freezer case right next to the chorizo.

                                        Canton Food Co
                                        750 S Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA

                                    2. re: Sunabe1

                                      The difference between Tommy's and Carney's are the chunks of burger meat that make Carney's so much better. Both places sell it in take-home containers large enough to have a party or freeze for later. Carney's also sells their great dogs by the pound to go along with their chilli.

                                      1. re: JeetJet

                                        I'm with you JJ. Carney's chili has always been a much better tasting product than that from Tommy's... so their doctoring works for me.

                                2. It's amazing--this thread simply will not die!

                                  I've always regarded Tommy's chili as the reason why I go to other burger joints. To my taste, it hardly even qualifies as chili, just some gooey past that adds a bit more redundant grease to the experience.

                                  Still, I regard this discussion as proof of the delightful variety of human perception, and I salute those who are able to find something lovable about something I find so dreadful. Vive le difference!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: farmertomato

                                    tommys chili is not so much about great food (though I love the tamales and dogs) as going out at 2 am with friends. by the way my nephew woke up queasy and thought it was the tommys dog he had. it was the northridge earthquake that got him up.
                                    don't mind beef heart but the lymph gland in most mexican chorizo I avoid.

                                  2. I think this reference is to Tommy Jr's chili which I think is based in Marina Del Rey, CA not the chili they sell at the Tommy's location, I think he is the son of the original Tommy's?