SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — After signs surfaced indicating that iconic San Francisco institution Tommy’s Joynt might have closed permanently amid the COVID-19 pandemic, management on Wednesday happily confirmed that the rumors were not true.
A text message from one of the phone numbers listed as contact on the restaurant website received Wednesday simply read “Not permanently closing. Thanks.”
The rumors first surfaced on social media Tuesday night, with people sharing a Twitter post that showed the restaurant’s sign had been tagged with graffiti. SF Eater reported on the possible closure Wednesday morning.
Whoever did this over the Tommy’s Joynt sign is TOY ! Respect our Frisco institutions 😤 pic.twitter.com/mS01sJ4XtF
— OKDEN IN FRISCO (@TenderloinDad) September 1, 2020
Twitter and Facebook users noted that a Google search for the restaurant showed that it had permanently closed under the results, that the restaurant’s main phone number had been disconnected and that the online ordering option from Uber Eats indicated that the restaurant’s food was “currently unavailable.”
Wednesday afternoon, the restaurant posted the following statement on it’s Facebook page: “There’s a lot of buzz going around, but we are NOT closing. We will continue staying open with Uber Eats delivery.”
Despite that statement, the posted link to Uber Eats still shows ordering from Tommy’s to be unavailable.
The restaurant website features a statement on the home page saying the restaurant would be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the shelter-in-place order that was issued in March. An earlier post to the Tommy’s Facebook page from March 22 said that the restaurant would “be back when the shelter in place has passed.”
The colorfully painted restaurant on Geary Boulevard at Van Ness Avenue has been serving up food and drink since 1947. It has been celebrated by late chef Anthony Bourdain on his television show as well as local chef Guy Fieri’s program Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives and is famously where Bay Area metal band Metallica invited bassist Jason Newsted to join the group in 1986 after the tragic death of Cliff Burton.
According to its history, the restaurant was founded by Tommy Harris and Al Pollack and reportedly been run by the same family since its opening until the 2015 purchase by restaurateur Chris Henry, who promised that Tommy’s would not be making changes.
Besides the ongoing challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, Tommy’s has faced the reduced foot and car traffic caused by the SFMTA’s Van Ness construction project that has stretched on over the past four years.