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Update: It Looks Like Tommy’s Joynt is NOT Permanently Closed

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UPDATE: Looks like Tommy’s Joynt may not be shut down after all. Despite all the evidence presented below, I just got good news! Chris Henry, owner of Tommy’s Joynt, emailed me saying, “We’re not permanently closed! We’re temporarily shut down due to covid and mandatory closure from government.”

I reached out for more information. I will update this when I hear more.


This morning I got a heartbreaking message on Twitter from FootySF, alerting me that it appears that Tommy’s Joynt has permanently closed. Yelp has it listed as so, as does that side bar of information when you Google it. There’s also been some word of mouth confirmation on Twitter. I’ve reached out to Tommy’s via Facebook and have not yet received a response. When I called them, the phone was disconnected. Things do not bode well.

To add insult to injury, some douchebag wrote his weak-ass tag on Tommy’s famous sign:

This is so sad. Tommy’s Joynt is such an amazing part of San Francisco and has been serving up delicious, cheap food and beer to generations of San Franciscans. Tommy’s was also one of the last remaining restaurants in San Francisco where all their employees were Union. This absolutely terrible.

I went deep on how special a place Tommy’s Joynt was in my Weeknighter column for 7×7 back in 2013:

Sitting down to write this piece about Tommy’s Joynt I was gonna use all kinds of wistful and romantic imagery to describe the specialness of the place. This is partially because I’m a softy and often end up waxing nostalgic in this column, but more so because Tommy’s Joynt is a special place. Then I went to the Tommy’s Joynt website and realized that a) they don’t put up with that kind of wistful shit and b) the description of the Joynt on the home page is probably the best, most self aware “about me” a restaurant has ever done. Seriously, go read it now, I’ll wait…

That was amazing right? I want to block quote the whole thing because it’s perfect. Being that I can’t (or rather shouldn’t) block quote the whole thing I’ll just drop this one in:

These men, our founders, children of the Great Depression, knew how to squeeze every farthing out of a penny. They developed an eatery, a joint, where you could eat like you had all the money in the U.S. Mint, but lived like a Polk street pauper. Our lean buffalo meat covering rice is served for under nine dollars because we spend our money on beef, not table servers who exist to screw up your delicious meal. See a line out the door? Don’t rush off, in the time it takes to walk to another restaurant, get a table, and order from whatever teenager decided to show up at work that day, our long-term employees have served two dozen people.

I mean, are you fucking kidding me? I want to be best friends with not only whoever wrote this, but also whoever sits at the top of the food chain and okayed it. I imagine that person being like, “Well done Johnson! If they don’t like what we’re doing, they can eat a bag of dicks!”

I do live like a “Polk Street pauper” so the Joynt has always been a go to eatery and drinkery whenever I’m in the area. There have been many times where I’ve been doing a “Muni ride of fame” (no one should be shamed for getting laid) and hopped out at the corner of Van Ness and Geary because I knew that Tommy’s Joynt had exactly what I needed at the moment. A Bloody Mary and a hearty meal are a perfect way to set your hangover at ease before you finish the trudge home. Tommy’s Joynt is the ideal spot to eat and drink before you go to a show at one of the many surrounding venues like The Regency, AMC Van Ness, or the Mitchell Brothers O’Farrell Theatre. I’ve actually never been to Mitchell Brothers, but pairing Tommy’s Joynt with a strip club just seems right for some reason.

Maybe that’s because Tommy’s Joynt feels like a link to a bawdier San Francisco. At a time when it seems the entire city is losing it’s identity (ending public nudity, kicking out the Market Street chess players, evicting elderly people), the Joynt sits on the corner of Geary and Van Ness saying, “I’ve been doing my thing since 1947. Fuck you if you don’t like it.” And I do like it, immensely.

From all day drunks, to tourist families to hardcore metal kids on their way to a show, Tommy’s Joynt doesn’t bat an eye. They take you in, say “Trust me I’ve seen worse, now order your food already,” and then send you on your way. Tommy’s Joynt is a bar and it’s a restaurant. But more than that, it’s a big part of the soul of a city that’s trying to figure out if it still wants one.

It seems this year continues to find ways to get worse.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

I've been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York, but to those familiar with my work, I'm just "that douchebag who writes books about cheap stuff and drinks a lot".

14 Comments

  1. Nickolas
    September 2, 2020 at 10:24 am — Reply

    I mean, after The Stud closed, it couldn’t get any worse than that for me. Nothing is sacred in this city anymore.

  2. xmoki
    September 2, 2020 at 11:03 am — Reply

    “May you boil in Oil
    and fry in Crisco
    If you ever call
    San Francisco,
    ‘Frisco’ .”

    -Ogden Nash

  3. Robert Cissna
    September 2, 2020 at 11:06 am — Reply

    We named our son after Tommy Harris. He and my grandfather were good friends.

  4. Marvin Cruz
    September 2, 2020 at 11:22 am — Reply

    This article is false. Tommys joynt will re open. Management from Tommys will be reaching out. Please be aware.

  5. Christina
    September 2, 2020 at 11:37 am — Reply

    If you’re going to retract the statement you should change the headline of your article. This is extremely damaging to restaurants and your note that it’s not shutting down isn’t enough. People don’t open articles and read them, they see the title and move on. I’m still seeing people share this saying how sad it is.

  6. Johnson
    September 2, 2020 at 2:13 pm — Reply

    So you get a message on Twitter and write this article without checking it out first? Clickbait.

    You are truly the athlete’s foot of journalism in this city.

  7. OverIt
    September 2, 2020 at 4:33 pm — Reply

    Not cool, dude. This was extremely irresponsible reporting, if we can call it that. You heard Tommy’s closed “this morning,” which means you gave the business mere hours to respond before publishing this.

    We’re all going through enough, without you spreading harmful BS. You ruined my morning, and I will be cancelling my Broke Ass Stuart membership.

    • Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap
      September 2, 2020 at 6:17 pm — Reply

      You’re right. I did jump the gun on this and that was a mistake. I rectified it as soon as I heard the news and have done what I can to get the word out.

      I fuck up sometimes. I’m sorry.

      On the flip side a lot of people thought about Tommy’s for the first time in months and are newly inspired to give them some money when they reopen. So at least something good came out of it.

      Sorry I ruined your morning. Hopefully your day has gotten better since then.

  8. Ernest Montague
    September 2, 2020 at 7:52 pm — Reply

    I first went to Tommy’s Joynt in 1973. I drove by it in 66 but didn’t stop. It was great. I’ve eaten there since. For a workman’s lunch, it’s the best. Period. Big portions, no BS, tasty, and a great selection of beers.

    Last time I went in, just before the Covid closing, I was served cold mashed potatoes from the steam table. To say that I was disappointed would be incorrect. I was struck dumb. I hope that’s not new management.

  9. Fuck
    September 2, 2020 at 10:22 pm — Reply

    Irresponsible reporting man. Maybe you’d like to see Tommy’s a TGI Friday’s? Sucka free 🖕🏻

  10. Celina Isabel
    September 3, 2020 at 9:23 am — Reply

    Fake news. Yall should take this down.

  11. Legitimate Commenter
    September 3, 2020 at 9:45 am — Reply

    LOL, so you’re going to try to spin your egregious error into “look I helped get the word out!”? Come on pal.

    Tommy’s Joynt doesn’t need you to “save” them, never has, never will. You should be publishing an article about how you contacted the owners to apologize and are going to do some volunteer work for them after causing a legit fake news scare among our community.

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