Sadly, there is no Happy Tom

Don’t go looking for a jolly person that inspired the name for Happy Tom’s Burgers, the small but popular Echo Park restaurant that serves up budget fare. The name just sounded right to Raul Sanchez when he and his family opened the Sunset Boulevard eatery about 20 years ago. Sanchez’ has expanded his restaurant business since then, opening up Rodeo Grill down the street and two other Rodeos near downtown and Lincoln Heights. All together his restaurants employ about 100 workers, he said.

But Sanchez still has a soft spot for Happy Tom’s, which he recently closed to upgrade the restaurant’s bare-bones interior. When it reopens before the end of the month, expect an interior decorated with dark slate tile and banquette seating along the walls. The interior will be illuminated by pendant lights instead of the harsh fluorescent tubes. Is Happy Tom’s going to be renamed Fancy Frank’s? No, and, assures Sanchez, the prices will remain as low as ever. “Everything will be the same,” he said.

Bottom photo from the photographer via Flickr

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