Title: General Manager, Tommy’s Joynt

Home town: Los Angeles, I was born here but I’ve only been living here the past six years

1. What’s the key to the success of Tommy’s Joynt?
A couple of things–it doesn’t matter if you were here in 1955 or 1995, everything tastes the same and tastes delicious. The food, the flavors, the quality, the quantity for the price are all the same as they ever were. It’s extremely consistent. With so many pricey trendy places this place stays the same.

The decor was actually done on purpose. In 1947 my uncle Tommy hired someone to decorate the place with all this stuff. Now it’s considered “collectibles” but then it was junk. People always want to buy pieces but I tell them if I started selling things it wouldn’t be the same.

In the last ten years we’ve changed the carrot cake and added chocolate cake. We have salmon and mac and cheese once a week but really not much else has changed.

2. What’s the busiest time in the restaurant?
Thursday through Sunday, Friday and Saturday nights for sure. It’s a real mix on the weekend, lots of business people and movie goers. Lots of younger people have rediscovered Tommy’s Joynt because of our beer selection. The Metallica fan club meets here every year for a big party.

Come in on the weekends and you find a real cross section of people, all walks of life. We have a very diversified clientele, a real mix of locals and tourists.

3. How did buffalo end up on the menu?
In the 1950’s when Tommy lived in Hillsborough he had a neighbor who owned a ranch in Wyoming. The neighbor invited him for dinner and served buffalo stew and Tommy liked it because it was lean and healthy. He decided to buy buffalo from his neighbors ranch and serve it at the restaurant. We’ve been buying from the same ranch all these years.

4. What’s the most popular item on the menu?
Hard to say, it’s the brisket, turkey, corned beef and pastrami. We probably have the best pastrami outside of NY. Our corned beef is made by a local family who does all the pickling themselves. Our knockwurst is local too, from Schwarz Sausage.

5. What’s the best deal at Tommy’s?
Someone can buy a roll for 30 cents, a beer and a hard boiled egg for a quarter and for $3 they got a meal. The eggs used to be all double yolks but we can’t get those anymore. Still, it’s a deal.

For more about my take on Tommy’s, visit here.

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