Tommy’s Burgers Turns 75
Before embarking on our Koreatown tour, we stopped at Tommy’s for a bite, and it just so happened to be their 75th anniversary!
This small shack might not look like much, but it’s here where chili burgers first made their mark in Southern California. Born to Greek immigrants in Oklahoma City, Tom Koulax arrived in California in 1928. After serving as a shipyard welder during World War II he opened up a hot dog stand at Florence and Main. But when he lost his lease there he spied this shack at the corner of Beverly and Rampart, opening up Tommy’s in May of 1946, a year before In N Out would hit the scene.
By the 1960s Koulax had the whole corner, opening up another serving counter. In the 1970s he expanded to have multiple locations, and today Tommy’s can be found throughout Southern California and even Nevada.
Hailed as the perfect late night burger spot, since it’s open 24 hours, it’s never without a line. Regularly making restaurant lists for California, it was also featured on The Burger Show, from the YouTube channel First We Feast.
Grab a chili burger (which by the way, chili comes on EVERYTHING, but don’t worry, you can ask for it on the side) at the original Tommy’s shack at 2575 W. Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles. Want a closer location? Check out the list of spots here.
June 2021 UPDATE: Tommy’s was featured in the trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s novelization of his film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood which made use of deleted scenes.
“About.” Original Tommy’s. Accessed 21 May 2021
Folkart, Burt A. “Tommy Koulax, Builder of Hamburger Chain, Dies.” Los Angeles Times, 29 May 1992. Accessed 21 May 2021.
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5 comments on “Tommy’s Burgers Turns 75”
Another DELIGHTFUL writeup! Love a Tommy’s chiliburger. So fun to learn some of the history, and how the chain fits into California culture.
Say, have you ever done a piece on Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood (as seen in IRON MAN 2)? That could be a fun writeup.
It’s on the list! Just haven’t made it over there yet!
You know all the cool spots! When I plan a trip over to Cali I need to go through your posts so I can some cool joints to go to. LOL Plus my hubby is a foodie. He would totally love this place too! xox
Perfect timing to go on their 75th!
Yum-yum!!! One can all but smell and taste their wonderful chilli topped offerings through this post. It is fantastic that they’ve been able to weather the pandemic. May they enjoy another 75 years and plenty more beyond then still to come!
Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life