Thank Goodness, there’s Tom’s Place

toms-placeby Raoul Piette

Normally I expect to find restaurants like Tom’s Place located in what I call ‘”The Land of the Real Man”, business parks for guys who work up a big hunger while building things. But in the years since opening, three distinct categories of diners developed; hungry guys, health-conscious office workers, and busy families.

Located off East 17th Street at Placentia Avenue, I think I’ve dined at Tom’s Place under all those categories. Hooray! They nail all three! Amazingly, even with the changes in demographics, the menu is essentially the same as when they opened decades ago. In recent weeks, I’ve enjoyed the oversized breakfast burritos while deep sea fishing, had a salad during a lunch meeting, and catered to the special dining requests of the entire family.

The interior is comfortable coffee shop style, (excepting the stainless steel counter at which you order). With ample natural light, warm tones, and booths for everyone, the food is brought
to the table, although sodas are self-serve.

From their Burgers ($2.79 to $5.79) to 3-egg Breakfast Burritos ($4.09), the food is consistently a better than expected product and value. For example, the burgers are all 1/3 pound size,
versus the expected 1/4 lb. And the list of Mexican Food Entrees extends all the way from Tacos and Quesadillas, to Fajitas and Carne Asada plates. I love that you can make any Ala Carte item into a combo for one set price, ($3.70).

Tom Foskari, and his charming wife Effie, have raised four daughters while running Tom’s Place restaurants across OC. Daughter Maria deftly operated upscale Foscari’s Mediterranean
Cuisine for nearly 20 years in Yorba Linda, exactly where younger sister, (Polly) now runs wildly popular Sammy’s Place for the past few years. All three establishments used the family’s
Greek heritage to enliven the menu and make it more than a Chicken Breast Sandwich; it’s a 1/2 pound chicken breast, marinated overnight in olive oil, lemon juice and garlic, then flame
grilled to seared perfection.

A can’t miss sandwich would be the Beef Melt, with thinly sliced roast beef piled high with grilled onions and melted Swiss cheese on Asiago cheese encrusted sourdough bread. Sandwiches
run from The BLT at $4.39 to $6.99 for the Steak Sandwich, which is made from an ideal cut of beef – the ribeye. Fresh salads & good salad dressings are not the only vegan selection,
meatless alternatives also abound. But Here are my fav’s.


Breakfast Burrito ($4.09) – Three Eggs, Cheese, Potatoes, Salsa, and optional meat (add $1.40), including Chorizo.

How does one person finish this? An entire Breakfast in a tortilla!

Egg Breakfast Combo – Such a value, and enough for two!

Bacon Avocado Burger ($5.99) – Monster Delish, with thickly cut avocado. Or delve into the Pastrami Burger ($5.79), (yes, pastrami piled high atop a burger).

Fried Zucchini (or Mushrooms – my favorite!) – ¾’ thick battered and fried, with a delish ranch dressing!

The Wraps ($6.49) – Charbroiled Chicken & Avocado, or Albacore Tuna Salad & Avocado. And yes, albacore!

Gyros on Home-made Pita Bread: Just the Special Greek Sauce had me reconsidering every menu selection ever made, it’s that great! $5.70 Turkey Club ($5.69) – this is what the Club Sandwich was designed to be, all encompassing.

As a side note – the Chicken Strips are such a value for kids. And the fries earn special merit for being crisp on the outside, yet baked on the inside. Such added value means your next generation
to be eating at Tom’s Place as well!


Tom’s Place 799 W 17th Street, in Costa Mesa Southwest corner, at Placentia Avenue (714) 779-1677 tomsplacerestaurant.com

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