Original Tommy's

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Coordinates: 34°04′10″N 118°16′35″W / 34.069545°N 118.276368°W / 34.069545; -118.276368

Original Tommy's World Famous Hamburgers
Industry Fast food restaurants
Founded Los Angeles, California
United States (1946)
Headquarters Monrovia, California
Key people
Thomas James "Tommy" Koulax, Founder (1918-1992)
Products hamburgers, hot dogs, tamales, chili, french fries, soft drinks
Slogan If you don't see the shack take it back!
Website originaltommys.com
The original location, at Beverly & Rampart. The Shack is in the foreground, the building surrounding is also a part of the restaurant. Patrons eat at their cars or standing at the counter along the back walls.

Original Tommy's is a hamburger restaurant chain in Southern California, United States. It is known for its chili burgers.[1]


The original location was opened on May 15, 1946, by Tom Koulax[2] (October 26, 1918 - May 28, 1992), the son of Greek immigrants, on the northeast corner of Beverly and Rampart boulevards west of downtown Los Angeles.[3] The stand, which still stands today, sold hamburgers and hot dogs topped with chili. At first business was slow, but started to pick up. During the 1960s, the entire lot at this intersection was purchased. Soon after, the northwest corner was acquired for expanded parking and storage of goods. Not long after that, a second service counter occupying the building at the perimeter of the northeast lot was set up. The food was essentially the same from both locations, except for longer lines at the original shack counter, perhaps for nostalgic reasons.[4]

Tommy's grew to 30 locations by 2006. Most Original Tommy's restaurants are found in the Greater Los Angeles Area. In recent years several locations have closed. The Santa Monica location is set to close on April 20, 2014.[5]

The company is based in Monrovia, California, after years at Glendale, California, and is run by the late Mr. Koulax's family.


Chili Cheese Fries, served at the original location (note: cheese is served under the chili).

A ladle or two of Koulax's signature chili tops nearly every available menu item, even the breakfast sandwich. Original Tommy's chili is a mixture of an all-beef chili con carne base, flour, water, and a "secret" blend of spices, and resembles a condiment more than a conventional bowl of chili. The flour-water mixture allows the chili to "set up" and adhere to the burger or fries. All the chili is made to exact specifications and is the same in each location.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Local Chains 101". Washington Post. April 25, 2004. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  2. ^ Gould, Lark Ellen (2005-04-01). Los Angeles: Off the Beaten Path : a Guide to Unique Places. Globe Pequot. pp. 34–. ISBN 9780762735235. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  3. ^ Dana Bartholomew (May 16, 2006). "Tommy Built it; They Came". Daily News. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  4. ^ Original Tommy's Hamburgers, OriginalTommys
  5. ^ The Original Tommy's (March 14, 2014). "We have some sad news to report". facebook.com. Retrieved March 20, 2014. 

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