Friday, June 12, 2015

Here's Hoping New Owner Doesn't Screw Up Tommy's Joynt The Pride And Joy Of 415 Media

  Many of you that come here know my appreciation and fondness for Tommy's Joynt --a virtual culinary institution on Van Ness in San Francisco.


Tommy's was sold recently. The new owner insists he has no intention of changing the beauty and atmosphere of the place.


I'm willing to give the guy the benefit of the doubt but I'm cynical. When I heard "craft cocktails" I worried even further. Please, no invasion of the food spectacle, please lord.


For those of you that have ever ventured into Tommy's Joynt, you know and can register my passion. It's old-school personified. It's literally meat and potatoes heaven. Tommy's is more than merely great, old-school food, it is forever San Francisco and a throwback to where you get decent food without having to get a loan from the bank.


Tommy's Joynt is a hofbrau-style smorgasbord with heavenly comfort food like roasted turkey, hot carved pastrami, corned-beef to die for. I'm not an ox-tail guy but they got that too. And beef burgundy and something that made me give up a Giants game recently, the lamb shanks on Thursday. Oh my God, the lamb shanks!


Tommy's is dark, a little dank but always clean. Whenever I used to hang out at the old KRON, I would find myself visiting Tommy's Joynt right across the street. It was always open, open pretty much every single day, the restaurant an hour later than the bar at 10: 45 AM until the wee hours of the morning. And the food is spectacular --not everybody's cup of tea but nirvana for the thousands of others who know what inexpensive, good and reliable food stands for. No, Tommy's Joynt is not the recipe for healthy food (slightly) but when you're looking for something hardy and yes, comfortable with a touch of San Francisco, then you go to the Joynt. Herb Caen's Van Ness stakeout. A local treasure.


That's why I'm hoping the old place isn't turned into some crappy, yupified edifice like what happened to venerable Brennan's in Berkeley, another great Irish hofbrau that lost its identity when new owners took over and messed it up. My opinion.


When I've interviewed various media members in town, if we're close by, I always pick Tommy's Joynt. It's a classic. One of these days I'm going to the Joynt and have a big party and invite some of 'yous to understand how cool it is and why I love it.

Please, new owner, don't screw it up.


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35 comments:

  1. Tommy's Joynt is a treasure not to be muddled with! For as Hillary Clinton recently said to Bill, "Is that all you do all goddam day is play Playstation?"

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    1. "Tommy's Joynt is a treasure not to be muddled with!"

      Spot on, 5:25 (and Rich). I love Tommy's, and would hate to see it ruined.

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  2. The new owner is... a w.a.s.p. and,it looks like he EXERCISES..ugh.

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    1. Sneaky with the racism huh Stan? White anglo saxon? Racist little bitch.

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    2. Interesting to me is how Stan obfuscates the word as "w.a.s.p." This leads me to believe that maybe Stan has posted elsewhere and the word has been censored. That's funny to me because I am one and the word is not offensive to me in the least. It just shows me how ridiculous PC people are.

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    3. It shows, 8:32, that Stan sneaks his little snipes in regards to race into quite a few comments. Whether it be his use of WM for white male or "wasp" in reference to a white male, I've seen both from him in my time here and I'm sure there are more I've missed that others have seen. Bottom line, it all seems so hypocritical for the one guy that bitches about racism on here to constantly make veiled Caucasian references and insults. Who is his main target 99% of the time? A white male married to a black female (Radnich). Jealous much?

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  3. Pastrami and Corned BeefJune 12, 2015 at 6:18 PM

    Oh please don't even think of harming Tommys. That place made being at KRON a perk.

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  4. I heard cumulus bought it....the buffett line will be replaced by lunchables

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  5. Bless you, Rich, for your attachment to Tommy's.
    I've been a fan since the mid 60's. (His son David was my doc, his son Mike was a friend, so I too have attachments.)
    I'm always amazed how, over these past umpty-ump years, the prices seem to be the same, the food's always the same, the service is the same - and it's one of three places I visit when I'm in SF. (When Sam Wo gets back on line, I'll have four faves).
    Long may Tommy's wave.

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    1. Sam Wo. We can only wish. But, San Francisco, as we once knew it, is dying a slow, painful death. Only to be reborn as a tech-loving whore, draped in money, drunk off craft beer and 'mixology' drinks. Fuck THAT place. Baghdad By The Bay has been turned into Baghdad. Two places you really don't want to live in or visit.

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    2. Not too thrilled about the changes to the city either, but better that than the neo-hippies and homeless running around all over the place.

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    3. Re Sam Wo: I read a couple of weeks ago that they're re-opening in July. Different location tho, this time on Clay (I think), but still in Chinatown. Here's their site: http://www.samwo-restaurant.com/

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    4. Re Sam Wo: It won't be the same if you don't enter by going through the kitchen first and climbing up stairsteps made for a lighthouse and encountering the likes of Edsel Ford Fong.

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  6. Crave Freebies for world residents are listed here. Updated daily. Crave Free Stuff to see the latest Free Samples offers.

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  7. Media General now owns it.

    In the future all fired KRON weather models will be forced to be cocktail waitresses at the joynt.

    Gotta stay on todays theme right?

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  8. @6:20, if Cumulus bought it then they'd replace all the food with Dog Food and expect you not to notice!

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  9. I heard it's going to be tofu and sprouts. With wheatgrass to drink. Mashed yeast on the side.

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  10. If Cumulus Media bought Tommy's Joynt the first order of business would obviously be to do everything diametrically opposite to what has made Tommy's the comfort-food heaven that it is, for we meat and potatoes guys.

    The top executives at Cumulus know everything there is to know, about whatever type of business they choose to invest in. To them, the fact that they're rich means that they're freaking geniuses. As if the ability to manipulate money is the only meaningful gauge of intellect, creativity, and success.

    At Tommy's, they'd have to fire all of the cooks and then change totally to soy-based meatless health foods like Tofurkey sandwiches. Or perhaps they could offer vegetarian spaghetti, made with organic tomatoes, soy noodles, and meatless meatballs.

    They'd need to have a massive layoff of employees, about three months after the acquisition was completed, so your order was cooked by the clueless and its service was handled by a skeletal serving staff, that made the wait for your "taste treat" interminable.

    Naturally, to rapidly recoup their acquisition investment, they'd have to immediately double the price of every item on their new menu, relative to what similar items cost on the preceding successful menu. Hey, they've got to have $$$ to keep their numerous estates' lawns manicured and the fuel tanks of their mega-buck wheels gassed up.

    They could pipe in Indian Sitar music to set a proper mood. And they could head off law suits by handing out a pair of Tums tablets, or a communal swig of Gelusil, to every customer, when they're paying for their "gastronomic delights" at the cash register.

    I invite readers to contribute their own ideas to this message string, as to how the Dorkey Brothers would reverse engineer yet another Bay Area success story, to ensure its inescapable near-term failure. A failure that would naturally eventually be blamed on the cooks and the wait staff.

    C'mon folks, I know you have some ideas of your own about how the losers from Atlanta could royally F things up at Tommy's, just like they have with most of their media acquisitions, around the country..

    Show them no mercy, Percy!

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    1. Ronn would announce how everyone is going to love the tofu

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  11. I like it for its reliable food, too.

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    1. Yeah, I hate unreliable food.

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  12. Head to Harry's Hofbrau in San Jose or Redwood City, problem solved.

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    1. First started going to the Hofbrau in SJ 30 years ago. Good stuff. And good fun on St. Patty's day in '87. Green beer.

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    2. They still do the green beer I believe.

      I live down the street in SJ, been going probably 30 years or so as well. There were rumors a few years back when Garden City closed and because Casino M8trix that the family that owned that entire piece of land would finally sell it all. Harry's was supposed to move etc etc. Haven't heard anything recently.

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    3. Harry's is the place Tommy's *wishes* it was.

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    4. Used to go to Harry's when they were in Palo Alto (at the Golf Course on East Embarcadero Road), and in Mountain View on the El Camino. Ate many a turkey leg, lots of mashed potatoes and gravy, and gained many a pound at that place! Like Tommy's, it was good and reasonable.

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  13. I rarely eat out. Mostly because I'm cheap, secondly, I'm vain; I don't want to be seen getting lockjaw while trying to eat an oversized sammich. Thirdly, I have no effn' idea what those places costs. I'm sure this place has a good website, so I could do some research there first. Are you expected to tip, or is the choice taken away from the customer, after the manager embeds the 'gratuity' into the item price.
    I may try it soon, before Apple or Google buy the space, turn it into a product showroom.

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    1. The Hofbrau in SJ isn't expensive. Pick the meal you want and slide down buffet style ( think Sweet Tomatoes), pick the prime rib, turkey meal with all the sides and gravy, all on a tray and slide over to the cashier and then take it to your table. No tip required, but you can leave one on the table as you leave much like a hotel room.

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    2. Wow, a blast from the past. Is Harry's still open? Highway 84 Woodside Road and El Camino.

      There was another HofBrau right by Fashion Island Shopping Center but I forget the name.

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    3. San Jose, Redwood City and San Leandro (never seen the Harrys in San Leandro myself)

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  14. Rich, Tommy's Lamb Shanks are Delish also! Real Yum-ooo! :)

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  15. Whenever I went to The Great American Music Hall to see The Buddy Rich Big Band , Tommy's is where I went for dinner. Long live Tommy's Joynt.

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  16. I've been going to Tommy's since Tommy Harris had the place. Nothing has changed, even the mustards on the tables. So any changes made by the new owners will definitely be noticed.

    Always a stop after a ball game, a symphony, etc.

    "Craft cocktails!" Indeed!

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  17. SW in Santa CruzJune 14, 2015 at 6:46 PM

    I commented on this in a later post. Didn't see this. I feel for you, Rich. I was sorry to see the Hoff Brau on Broadway in Oakland take a dump.

    Hopefully this won't go the way Spenger's went too.

    Hopefully Val's in Daily City stays the same. Their French Dip is the best in the Bay.

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  18. I'm a little late with this replay but I happened to be in there last week and the staff were antsy about the situation. I overheard a manager telling them they would remain a union shop because it was in the existing union contract with the company to remain a union house if sold.

    I also now several of the staff are looking just in case. My gut tells me it will wind up like Spenger's in Berkeley which will ruin it. I've been going in there 40 + years. You know something is up when the waitress hugs you like she will never see you again...

    Sad - I hope I'm wrong...

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