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

rockhead May 18, 2009 12:25 AM

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?


  1. b
    Burger Boy May 18, 2009 07:02 AM

    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. m
      malibumike May 18, 2009 08:21 AM

      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
        monku May 18, 2009 09:23 PM

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

      2. monku May 18, 2009 09:16 PM

        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 Wouldn't surprise me if Dolores originally made the chili for Tommy's many years ago.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
          chuck May 18, 2009 09:59 PM

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

          1. re: chuck
            rockhead May 19, 2009 11:08 PM

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

            1. re: rockhead
              Burger Boy May 20, 2009 06:34 AM

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

              1. re: rockhead
                malibumike May 20, 2009 08:57 AM

                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
              macnut May 23, 2009 11:14 AM

              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
                chuck May 30, 2009 10:20 PM

                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
                  monku May 30, 2009 10:42 PM

                  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.

                  1. re: monku
                    Burger Boy Jun 5, 2009 06:47 AM

                    THANK YOU ! ! !

            3. t
              TomSwift May 19, 2009 08:32 AM

              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
                monku May 30, 2009 07:15 PM

                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
                ITry May 30, 2009 06:05 PM

                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
                  scurvy May 30, 2009 11:33 PM

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

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

                  1. re: scurvy
                    ITry May 31, 2009 10:39 AM

                    That's the one, thanks!

                2. l
                  LakerFan Jun 3, 2009 07:24 PM

                  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
                    monku Jun 3, 2009 08:54 PM

                    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
                      monku Jun 3, 2009 09:35 PM

                      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
                        LakerFan Jun 4, 2009 02:10 PM

                        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
                          monku Jun 4, 2009 03:37 PM

                          "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
                            Burger Boy Jun 5, 2009 06:51 AM

                            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
                              monku Jun 5, 2009 07:09 AM

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

                              1. re: Burger Boy
                                monku Jun 5, 2009 07:21 AM

                                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. o
                      ohdaylay Jun 4, 2009 02:31 PM

                      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
                        monku Jun 4, 2009 03:39 PM

                        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
                          ohdaylay Jun 4, 2009 11:02 PM

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

                        2. re: ohdaylay
                          monku Jun 5, 2009 07:30 AM

                          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. j
                          JeffSD Jun 6, 2009 04:33 PM

                          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. s
                            Sunabe1 Jun 9, 2009 05:10 AM

                            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
                              TomSwift Jun 9, 2009 12:04 PM

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

                              1. re: TomSwift
                                monku Jun 9, 2009 04:27 PM

                                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
                                  Sunabe1 Jun 10, 2009 05:59 PM

                                  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
                                    monku Jun 10, 2009 09:27 PM

                                    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
                                      Sunabe1 Jun 16, 2009 06:26 AM

                                      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
                                        monku Jul 23, 2009 02:15 PM

                                        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
                                      JeetJet Jun 13, 2009 04:24 PM

                                      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
                                        Servorg Jun 13, 2009 05:19 PM

                                        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. f
                                  farmertomato Jun 9, 2009 09:46 AM

                                  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
                                    divadmas Mar 14, 2010 11:43 PM

                                    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. m
                                    malibumike Mar 15, 2010 08:36 AM

                                    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?

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