Despite graffiti, Tommy's Joynt owner says closure rumors are 'fake news' [Updated]

Despite graffiti, Tommy's Joynt owner says closure rumors are 'fake news' [Updated]A tipster says he took this photo after watching the restaurant being graffitied early Sunday morning. | Photo: Michael J./Hoodline Tipline
Alisa Scerrato
Published on September 02, 2020

Over the weekend, a number of Hoodline tipsters wrote in about vandalism at Tommy's Joynt, the beloved hofbrau on Van Ness Avenue. The 73-year-old eatery now has graffiti on both its vintage neon sign and its famous exterior mural.

This morning, Broke-Ass Stuart published an article saying that Tommy's Joynt is closing permanently. The restaurant's phone is also disconnected.

But in an email to Hoodline sent this morning, owner Chris Henry denies that Tommy's is closing. 

"This is fake news being spread," he wrote. "Not true!"

Founded by Tommy Harris, the Joynt first opened in 1947. It's now a San Francisco institution, known for its fresh-carved turkey and pastrami sandwiches and buffalo stew. 

It remained in Harris' family until 2015, when it was sold to Henry, who also owns Sausalito's Barrel House Tavern. Henry promised former owner Susie Katzman, Harris' niece, that he'd keep Tommy's much the same, and indeed, little has changed since he took over. 

Photo: Geoff H./Yelp

Tommy's website currently says it's open for takeout during shelter in place, from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. daily. But tipsters say it appears to have closed at some point.

It's not entirely clear whether the restaurant is still serving customers. Tipster Michael J. says he saw Tommy's being graffitied in the wee hours of Sunday morning, around 1 a.m. 

Asked for more information about when Tommy's might reopen, or its plan to address the graffiti, Henry did not respond further. We'll keep you updated when we know more.

Update, 12:51 p.m.: Mark Kaplan, the regional director for the Barrel House restaurant group, told Hoodline that Tommy's is indeed closed for the time being. But it's only temporary.

"Our plan is to reopen once indoor dining is allowed again," he said.

As for the graffiti, Kaplan said he just found out about it this morning. "It was not there last week when I was there. I have alerted my maintenance person to take care of it."

Thanks to Michael J. for the tip! See something interesting while you’re out and about? Text Hoodline and we’ll try to find out what’s going on: (415) 200-3233.