Original Tommy’s To Feed Hardworking Souls At Pasadena PD

Susan C. Schena

PASADNEA, CA — Original Tommy’s, a beloved burger joint and longtime fixture on the Southland restaurant scene, is coordinating delivery of some 2,000 meals this week as a show of appreciation to healthcare workers and first responders on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle at area facilities, including the Pasadena Police Department and others in the San Gabriel Valley.

“Everyone is affected by the coronavirus, and so many businesses are suffering during the quarantine, but we want to thank the women and men who are caring for us,” said Robert Castaneda, Original Tommy’s chief operating officer.

More than 30 hospitals and police stations, throughout Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, including in Pasadena, on Thursday will each receive roughly 60 free orders of Tommy's chili burgers and fries — a donation that likely would make the original "Tommy" smile.

Original Tommy's, launched in the 1940s by Tom Koulax, the son of Greek immigrants, has grown from its humble beginnings as a tiny hot dog and burger shack at Beverly and Rampart boulevards in Los Angeles to more than 34 locales in Southern California and Nevada. With community ties stretching back nearly 75 years, the family-owned business and its staff wanted to show support in these trying times — which spurred the massive meal-delivery effort, management said.

"I know my dad would be proud of the work we’ve done to continue his legacy," Cindi Koulax, Tommy’s youngest daughter, said of her father, who passed away in 1992.

Due to the COVID-19 clampdown on in-house dining, numerous restaurants throughout the Golden State swiveled to take-out and delivery to stay afloat.

"The coronavirus pandemic has hit so many family businesses, and I feel sad to think of how many may never open again," Koulax said.

With its walk-up, to-go style format, Original Tommy's was better positioned than other establishments to keep operating, and no employees were laid off or locations shuttered because of the pandemic, Castaneda noted.

"Like many businesses, our drive-thru, take-out and partnerships with our delivery services, have helped to keep our business open," Koulax said.

The company credited its affiliates that will make Thursday's mega-meal, giveaway possible, including the donation of services from Doordash, the third-party that will assist in deliveries at some locales, along with Original Tommy's vendors.

“We are very thankful to our suppliers, Commercial Meat and Puritan Bakery," Castaneda added. "Their donations help us to provide these 2,000 meals to the healthcare heroes and first responders in our communities.”

For more on Original Tommy's, its history and menu, and pick-up and delivery options, follow this link.

Thursday recipients of Original Tommy's chili-burger-and-fries meals will include employees at:

  • Adventist Health Simi Valley, Simi Valley
  • Barstow Community Hospital, Barstow
  • Beverly Hospital, Montebello
  • City of Chino Police Department, Chino
  • Emanate Health Inter-Community Hospital, Covina
  • Encino Hospital Medical Center, Encino
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital, Los Angeles
  • Methodist Hospital, Arcadia
  • Mission Community Hospital, Panorama City
  • Orange Coast Memorial Hospital, Fountain Valley
  • Pacifica Hospital of the Valley, Sun Valley
  • PIH Health Good Samaritan Hospital, Los Angeles
  • Topanga Community Police Station, Canoga Park
  • Valley Presbyterian Hospital, Van Nuys
  • Westminster Police Department, Westminster
  • Los Angeles Police Department - Hollywood Station, Los Angeles
  • Ventura County Sheriff's Office, Ventura
  • Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center
  • Palmdale Regional Medical Center, Palmdale
  • La Habra Police Department, La Habra
  • Sharp Memorial Hospital, San Diego
  • California Highway Patrol, Valencia
  • Corona Police Department, Corona
  • Desert Springs Hospital, Las Vegas
  • Las Vegas Police Department, Las Vegas
  • Long Beach Memorial Medical, Long Beach
  • MountainView Hospital, Las Vegas
  • OC Sheriff in Lake Forest
  • Pasadena Police Department, Pasadena
  • Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, Pomona
  • San Gabriel Valley Medical Center, San Gabriel
  • Providence St. Joseph Health & Services, Burbank
  • Norwalk Sheriff’s Station, Norwalk


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This article originally appeared on the Pasadena Patch