My family is big on traditions. We’ve cultivated several over the years and one of my favorites (naturally) has to do with food. To keep it simple, we love to eat, preferably in large portions. One of our most consistent delicious dinner choices were trips to get some Tommy’s – as in the world famous Original Tommy’s Hamburgers.
It’s a staple of Los Angeles food culture, an exclusive chain (only available in California and Nevada) that cooks up pot after pot of savory spoonfuls of chili, ready to pour all over their signature burgers.
Our love affair with their chiliburgers started more than 45 years ago when my parents discovered them and we’ve been going back ever since. My mom and dad weren’t lightweights either, as both could put away two or more cheeseburgers in one sitting, with my mom regularly eating it during her pregnancies too. In other words, it’s highly likely I have chili in my veins.
One of our favorite excuses to go is the slightest hint of cold weather and all it takes is one person to say “it’s a bit chilly outside” for us to start racing to the nearest location (I’ve been to 9 of the 34). When I saw their announcement about offering new bigger 1/4-pound beef patties on their burgers, that was all the encouragement I needed.
Before I get into the specifics, feast your eyes on this beast of a burger.
The breakdown goes like this: two 1/4-pound beef patties served with cheese, extra mustard, and thick-cut tomatoes topped off with two servings of extra chili. They charge 65 cents more than the regular price for each of the new 1/4-pound patties and the total for the double cheeseburger in the photo was $5.20 plus tax.
I obviously have a thing for lots of chili, and since the bigger beef patties stick out around the entire bun, eating the new burger is a bit of a challenge. I wouldn’t suggest any Tommy’s rookies step up unless they’re ready for a huge meal. If you’re up for the challenge, I found that spinning the burger around and biting all the extra beef not only makes it easier to hold, it’s also delicious. Mmm double chili cheeseburger.
If you’re not ready to swim in an ocean of chili just yet, their regular size patties and burgers are a great choice, coming in at just under $3 each for hamburgers and cheeseburgers to between $6 to $7 for a single or double burger combo (fries and a drink), plus tax. They also offer chili dogs, chili to go, tamales and a breakfast menu and they accept cash, credit and ATM. Most locations are open between 7 am to 12 am on weeknights and until 2 am on the weekends.
The standard ingredients on their burgers are mustard, onions (chopped), pickles and thick-cut tomato slices. You can add or remove them at your leisure and extra servings of chili are free. You can also order a burger without chili, if you’re into that sort of thing. Although if you are, please press the red X on the top right of your screen.
If there’s any doubt left about how I like mine, these photos should clear them up. All photos are taken by me and yes, I really ate them. For details on each order, click “view on Instagram” on each photo.
If you like what you see, find your nearest Tommy’s by clicking here. You can follow them on Twitter @OriginalTommys or like them on Facebook.com/OriginalTommys. One last thing, there are imitators out there so remember, if you don’t see the shack, take it back.