It’s been disjoynted couple of months for Tommy’s Joynt, but it looks like San Francisco will soon be giving thanks as the highly recognizable, unapologetically affordable Van Ness Avenue sandwich mainstay is set to return. After an early September vandalism incident tagged up its iconic neon sign, rumors swirled in local media that the place was closing for good. Hoodline was able to shoot that rumor down, as current owner Chris Henry told us those reports were “Not true!” But it was still unclear when the 73-year-old, counter-service hofbrau would be serving its giant dinner platters again.
Now we do know that Tommy Joynt will be opening again next week. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Tommy’s Joynt will reopen on Thursday, October 29, and is apparently planning some manner of to-go Thanksgiving service too.
Hoodline checked with Tommy’s Joynt’s main listed phone number, which is still disconnected. But the ‘Events and Catering’ number does indeed verify the Chronicle’s reporting, and has an outgoing message confirming the news.
“We plan to reopen beginning October 29,” says Tommy’s Joynt’s outgoing message on that line. “We will have reduced hours and a reduced menu. We would like to thank everyone for their kind words for us during this shutdown.”
“We are beginning to put things together here. We look forward to seeing everyone return and enjoying our hot fresh turkey, pastrami, barbecue brisket and other specials,” it says. The updated hours and menu are not yet clarified, but the restaurant will live up to its “Where Turkey is King” sign on Thanksgiving Day.
“We are also putting together Thanksgiving Day to-go packages,” according to the voicemail message. "Look for those to pre-order soon. We will not have the usual Turkey Day celebration, as we do not want to be a super-spreader.” (A 2014 Chronicle profile notes that the Tommy’s Joynt Thanksgiving tradition goes back nearly 30 years, and in a normal year serves about 1,200 patrons.)
“We will see how things go,” the message says. “If things are good, hopefully we can see many of you here on Thanksgiving.”
Sounds like Tommy’s Joynt is wisely playing it pretty conservatively with the return to indoor dining. Restaurants have been allowed to seat patrons indoors at 25% capacity since September 30, and they’re scheduled to be allowed to increase that capacity to 50% on November 3 (barring any setbacks in the city’s COVID-19 infection rate). Tommy’s Joynt has not committed to any seating capacity yet publicly, and it’s probably prudent for any restaurant to take things pretty slowly.
Yet some of the public information about Tommy’s Joynt is still, well, a little out of joynt. Their Yelp page currently reads that they’re “Scheduled to reopen on September 2, 2030,” which seems a little distant, especially given today’s news.