Thursday, June 15, 2017

Eagan's Big Tom

      This is it, for me the penultimate foodie review.  The hangout, cruise central, the burger joint of my adolescence.  There were originally 4 of these, but over the years only the Westside and Eastside locations are still in their original locations.  The Tumwater location is further south on Capitol Way and the Tumwater Square location is gone.  Only the Tumwater location offers indoor seating. 
Westside Eagan's Big Tom
      Originally there was one Eagan’s Drive in, opened in 1948.  The Westside was where the action was, especially after a big game on Friday night.  It was the sixties and all the guys would drive in with their convertible Chevy's, top down, KJR or 8 track playing as loud as you could.  Couldn’t even get a spot to park.  Cops patrolling every few minutes.  There was rarely a fight, but sometimes a carful of greasers would show up from Lacey (North Thurston) and want to start something.
Great fact INCREDIBLE.  A regular burger in those days was about 35 cents.  But everybody just ordered the basket which was a Big Tom burger with fries and a Coke. Owner Tom Eagan was a really big guy with black hair, about 6′ and 300 pounds, undoubtedly because he ate too much of his own food.  Not sure why he started with the Westside, because he was an Olympia High School grad from an earlier day.  As business grew, Tom opened another Eagan’s on the East side.  It was on 4th Ave, at about Boulevard.  He probably called it Big Tom’s to distinguish it from the Westside Eagan’s, which was just “Eagan’s”.  The third Eagan’s Big Tom’s was soon opened closer to his old alma mater at North Street and Cleveland Ave......where there is currently a bank.
Eastside Eagan's Big Tom
      The North Street location had an outdoor seating area and was successful until he sold it for development.  It was not a drive thru, and as such, serviced mostly business people.  They always had specials.  Tom opened another location to serve the Tumwater High School kids on Capitol Boulevard by the power lines near Tumwater Sports.  In all, there were 4 Eagan’s owned restaurants.

Eagan's Big Tom Tumwater
      Barb and I eat at the Tumwater location several times when we visit here.  A taste of home, still great food with visions of the old days.  She says she indulges me.  I think she really does love a good burger, but this isn't her hometown.  It's a pride thing, Barb is from Missouri.  EVERYBODY loves a good burger!
      Eagan's offers a pretty standard menu at all their locations, but the difference is the food.  It hasn't changed one bit far as I can tell.......DELICIOUS!  The closest I have ever been able to compare to homemade.  The Tumwater location still has the old menu on it's wall as well as many pictures for nostalgia sake.  It is your standard 'drive in' fare........burgers of every conceivable design, hot dogs, chili dogs, corn dogs, chicken sandwiches, strips, fries, onion rings, and of course since it is the Pacific Northwest there are baskets with halibut, shrimp, and clam strips as well.  You can even get a Veggie Garden Burger.  They have a full array of soda products as well as designer coffee and lattes.  My favorite has always been their shakes, the best.  I always get a Mountain Blackberry shake with my burger.  I love the fact that they also offer tater tots as well as fries because it is the perfect Romeo to my Juliet......and of course the timeless favorite, GOOP.  It is their trademark product.  Essentially mayo, mustard, pickle relish with a secret salad dressing mixed in it is often copied, but seldom duplicated. 
A little known fact is that Eastside Big Tom’s is very environmentally friendly–they use solar panels to heat hot water and recycle everything they possibly can.  In fact the used oil from the fryers is filtered and used directly in a vehicle. 
Big Tom, Tater Tots, & GOOP
3 piece Halibut, Fries, & Coleslaw
      I always have my usual, but Barb went with the fish this time around.  They do have very good Clam Strip Baskets, but she wanted a change.   The food is still just as good as ever.  Lunch cost:  $24 and some change.  The costs have certainly gone up, but the quality is certainly still worth it.  I think Five Guys Burgers are much more $$$ and not nearly as good. 
      If you're ever traveling through this area it is a NO BRAINER!   You simply must stop and give this burger a try.  If you're from this area you are already asking yourself how come it has been so damned long since you've had one?  We have been here for just over 6 weeks now and this is only our 2nd visit.........MY BAD.  The movie "American Graffiti comes as close to any resemblance of those days and although the music was rapidly evolving, I still remember the Beach Boys.......those endless summers.  I often talk about my Top List of Burgers from our travels;  In and Out, Whataburger, TXBurger, and Five Guys.   I don't know what it is about a Big Tom Burger with Tater Tots and GOOP, but they will always be #1 in my heart and soul.


"Anybody who doesn't think that the best hamburger place in the world is in their hometown is a sissy"
Calvin Trillin
WiFi courtesy of Verizon MiFi

1 comment:

  1. What day (I think it's limited to just one day a week) do they do the big burger on the French roll?