Tommy’s Original World Famous Hamburgers

Tommy’s Original World Famous Hamburgers

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  1. Think of the old Saturday Night Live “Cheese-boogidy” sketch with John Belushi, Dan Akroyd and Bill Murray and you have a good approximation of the setting for “the original” Original Tommy’s, only outdoors. The major differences are that the folks at Tommy’s are Latino, not Greek, most of them speak perfect English and the burgers are to die for (pardon my dangling preposition; I hate showing those in public).

    The one and only original, at the corner of Beverly and Rampart boulevards, is exactly the same now as it was when I was a teen, back before North America thawed from the last ice age (back then, we used Tommy’s chili to produce the gas with which we melted local glaciers to clear fields for farming. What a sight it was, a hundred cavemen all bent over, waddling backward while holding Bic lighters to their exposed posteriors…  Those were the days).  


     Even though I now go to Tommy’s around lunchtime when back then we wove clear across town at 3 a.m. for the burgers, nothing has changed other than Tommy’s now has fries—really good ones, too, if you get them with chili and cheese—as where in the ice age they only had chips.


     The classic burger is a recipe for success: your basic ground beef patty, a thick slab of ripe tomato, a handful of pickle slices, a heaping helping of chopped onions and an overflowing ladleful of steaming chili that looks like something scooped out of a bedpan but tastes like ambrosia.


     For me, no Tommy burger is complete without the pickled peppers. As has always been the case, they have a deep pan at the end of the serving counter where you can spoon as many as you like into little paper bowls. I always make sure that I have one for every bite of burger. Mind you; these peppers are hot; no, they don’t blaze like habañero peppers, Scotch bonnets or Thai chilies, but they’re hot enough. Combine this spiciness with a burger piled high with gooey chili, cheese and the rest and—if you’re anything like me—you will pay for your indulgence the next day.

    If you haven’t had a classic Tommy Burger, put it on your bucket list, because I have it on strictest authority that St. Peter does not admit those who forgo Tommy’s. Yes, I’m sorry to say that Heaven does not admit vegetarians, probably because members of PETA annoy God as much as they do the rest of us.


    The Original Tommy’s Burgers:

    2575 W. Beverly Blvd

    Los Angeles, CA



    For other Tommy’s locations in Los Angeles, go to

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