I was excited to drop into Tommy’s Joynt for an afternoon bite. Touted as San Francisco’s original Hofbrau, it has been serving a menu centred on carved meat sandwiches since 1947. They take pride in a no frills attitude and keeping prices low. In fact, the only three menu items over ten bucks are the famous Buffalo Stew, braised oxtails with pasta (served Monday) and braised lamb shanks with vegetables (served Thursday and Sunday). The hunks of meat sitting in the cafeteria style chafing dishes right inside the door while the rest of the place is a seating area complete with a bar serving local craft draught, international bottles and cheapish cocktails. The cast of characters ranged from young to old, regulars to tourists and hipsters to those with with artificial hips. The decor is a reminder that it’s been open for almost 70 years. Hundreds of knick-knacks fill the walls, shelves and any other square inch of available space. It’s like a yard sale on steroids. They’ve never changed their style, they just added to it. It’s like a timeline of post WWII Americana scattered all over the place.
Apparently Tommy’s is “Where Turkey is King” so I strolled to the counter and ordered the roast turkey sandwich for $6 along with a side of mixed pickled beans for $2.65. The guy behind the counter pulled out the bird, carved some meat off the bird and slapped it on a fresh baguette with a side of au jus. As magical as Tommy’s was, they still couldn’t solve the dry poultry issue. You can’t keep a turkey in a chafing dish and expect it to stay moist. That said, the au jus added flavour and moisture to the sandwich. The bean salad was pretty typical. I thought things like the barrel of complimentary pickles (complete with a sign telling you not to abuse the pickle pecking privlegdes) to the strategically placed mustard jars were a nice touch.
Tommy’s Joynt is a west coast version of a Hofbrau, a casual German eatery with focus on beer and food. Having no idea who the place is named after, I figured it might be Tommy Chong (of Cheech and Chong fame). Ironically, Cheech is the Californian (Chong is a good old Canadian). I mean, the psychedelic paint job on the outside, the easy access to copious amounts of food, some clientele that look like they have hot boxed a few million times and even the fact it has “joynt’ in the name makes my theory somewhat viable. In fact, after a drag one might relish staring intently at the numerous trinkets which populate the walls and shelves. That said, the food was reasonable, the vibe was good but it just didn’t give me the “high” some of the other Diners, Drive-ins and Dives did.
Food- 3.5 Guyz
Service- 4 Guyz
Vibe- 4 Guyz
Total- 11.5 Guyz