Of all the places in San Francisco, as I was driving back from downtown I saw Tommy’s Joynt and when I got home I couldn’t believe in my six plus years of writing this blog I had never written about the home of the meat lover’s Tommy’s Joynt. If you’re even the least bit hungry this is the place to go. It’s got the old San Francisco feel and your plate will be filled and I dare you to finish it all.
I took a few friends from out of town [about 30 actually] once because it was across the street from the hotel they were staying at. A few got confused by the soup nazi attitude, because you have to know what you want when the guy asks you what you want or else you’re in for it. I’ve tried lots of things there [brisket is always great], but I keep coming back to the Buffalo stew because where else are you going to find Buffalo stew for $10.95. I’ve also gotten the $8.95 Buffalo stew sandwich which is for when I just need a little snack [which if you’ve eaten there you know is a joke]. You order your food, grab your silverware yourself and then find a table amongst the three floors going back up the hill.
As you walk up the first set of stairs you’ll see a tub of pickles that says, Help yourself to pickles, but please take only as many as you can eat. All that food and free pickles? You get to see a host of crusty old native San Franciscans there and the occasional person who falls off their bar stool. Incidentally they stock over 100 draft beers in stock and supposedly have a full bar, but for some reason I suspect that if you asked for a cosmopolitan you’d get a knife thrown at you or just thrown out of the place. This is probably part of the reason I’ve never seen cops eat here as they’d end up having to work instead of eat.
If you like turkey and order it as a platter you get the equivalent of a Thanksgiving day meal. Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing. If you ask for a side of green beans you’ll usually get a WHAT?! from the carver and you repeat it and he yells side of green beans. This is not a place for vegetable lovers. Probably one of the reasons Metallica loved to hang at Tommy’s Joynt. Just a little side note, Metallica has a rider on their contract that bacon must be available at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Now that is a bunch of meat lovers.
Tommy’s Joynt offers sandwiches, platters, stews and of course their special of the day. Someone like Gordon Ramsey would probably say they had too many items on the menu after which he’s get gob smacked by one of the owners. They do offer salads, but only one is a mixed vegetable. The rest or stuff like potato salad, macaroni salad, coleslaw and then some other vegetable mixes I never thought of. They also offer desserts such as apple pie, carrot, cheese and chocolate cake so even with the desserts they’re staying very old school. I always like to go as far back as I can when I visit just because it’s quieter and you have less chance of someone falling off a barstool and hitting you.
Tommy’s Joynt is a place where you will eat like a king on a pauper’s budget and I hope that it never goes away because it’s a part of San Francisco that defines the way San Francisco really is, not some half caf soy frappucino place that’s opening up on every corner or some luxury cupcake shop where you pay $5 for a cupcake that, well tastes like a cupcake you would make at home. Tommy’s Joynt has that old San Francisco soul to it and we need to keep these places around..