It is what it is. You like it or you don't. I've been going to Tommy's - the original location at Beverly & Rampart - since 1967. Over the past 25 years or so it's only been about once a year. Today was the day.
No, it does not have the best burger patty by far. Not the best bun, the best chili, the best tomato, pickle, onion, mustard. That is, it doesn't have the best of all that stuff individually. The whole thing is, however, far greater than the sum of its parts. It is perfection for what it is - a Tommy's Burger.
I prefer the simple old, single cheese burger. I think the balance of flavors is perfect. And today, just for the hell of it, I took a bite of the tomato by itself and it was a surprisingly good, thick, juicy tomato. I ate one of the pickles by itself, it was very tart, an excellent complement to the rest of the burger. The chili, the patty, the cheese - all was as it has ever been - or at least during my 42 years of experience.
And it was $2.40 - a total deal. (If I recall correctly, when I first went it was 40 cents for the same burger.)
Now most of the time, when I want a burger I crave something different; something with high-quality meat you can taste all on its own, with top of the line individual ingredients. I'm willing to pay a premium for that.
But that Tommy's burger, once a year, is as excellent as it has always been. At thisrate, if my body holds up, I figure I've got another 25 to 30 of them in my future, and I'm looking forward to them.