Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Original Tommy's
Southern California
Review by Diana, MaceVindaloo, ScarletManuka

Just because some pudknocker gets an idea to do something "bigger" or "more extreme," it doesn't mean it's better. In fact, more of a decent thing is often not better; it's often not even "more decent"!

Such is the case with the Original Tommy's Burgers ... As for the "original" part of the moniker, the world should be happy that it's original, and hope that it is NEVER copied! Though there are many branches throughout Southern California, none are franchises or licensees; Tommy Koulax, who developed the "concept" (if you can call it that), has a family who prefers to keep it all to themselves — thank God!

What's so awful? Los Angeles is a hamburger town — it's their native meal, beloved by them and done very well in such places as In-n-Out Burger. Everything that other burger is, the Original Tommy's burger isn't — it has the tomato, pickles, beef patty, etc., but they see fit to put a scoop of godawful sticky paste on it that oozes orange grease and feels like some sort of old automotive lubricant. It looks really disgusting. True, "bad" is not always a bad thing, but it tastes like ...

Okay, they describe their chili: "It is comprised of an all beef chili con carne base, water, flour, and a special "secret" blend of spices for that great flavor." The "recipe" sounds disgusting ... what self-respecting chili needs flour? And what the heck is "chili con carne base"? That means they don't really make it themselves ... That might explain the fact that descpite its "spices" it doesn't taste like anything. It just tastes like orange grease! The burger doesn't taste like anything either ... Are they afraid of spices? Or salt? At 1250 mg sodium, maybe not; then again, I don't believe a single burger is 490 calories, either ... a Starbuck's turkey sandwich with cheese on focaccia is 410 calories, no way this Tommy Burger is in the same league, calorie-wise.

This place has been in business since mid-1946 and the kitschy building is distinctive enough to become the symbol and slogan of the place: "If you don't see the shack — take it back!" What kind of slogan is that for a burger place? Not a good one ... basically, they are saying if its served in a kitschy red-roofed place, that's good enough. No mention of "food items" which makes us wonder if the items they want you to "take back" are food, or just some sort of filler polymer?

The place was clean enough, we guess, but the oiliness of the chili (which they put on EVERYTHING — hotdogs, burgers, cheeseburgers, fries ... wonder if in their beverages, too???) gave the patina of oiliness all around. There were not enough napkins to help us clean up after we struggled to eat enough to justify the drive to this place. The bathrooms are locked and located outside, so no one could or would actually use them ... one of us threw up shortly after we reached home. Definitely not from poisoning, other than of the soul.

As for the "world famous" sign on this roof ... note they don't really say why their hamburgers are world famous ... You know, "notorious" might be a more honest word.


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