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Tom's Original Super Burgers

From: Marie 
Sent: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 3:44 PM
Subject: Hope you can help!

Hi Uncle Phaedrus, 

My name is Marie.  Nice to make your email acquaintance.

I am writing to enquire about a little drive-in hamburger joint (no other way to describe it) on 
Mt. Vernon Avenue in San Bernardino, California.  The place looked like a little motor court hotel 
from the late 40s-early 50s, and it was open I believe through the 70s. We went there often when I 
was a child (born 1956) and my parents also spent dates there before they were married, so it must 
have been open in the 40s. 

It was called "Tom's," and it was really a tiny little coffee shop/restaurant that specialized in 
these over-the-top delicious hamburger specialities known as "Torpedo Burgers." They had counter, 
indoor, and outdoor dining at picnic tables under the trees.  There was a walk-up window where you 
could order to go or to eat outside. 
The Torpedo Burger was basically a chili cheese burger.  It contained an oval hamburger pattie because 
it was served on a Mexican bolillo roll (like a French roll with pointed, not rounded, ends). The burger 
had  onions, too, over the pattie and topped with a generous ladle of homemade chili. THIS is what made 
the dish!  On top of that, there was a nice handful of freshly shredded longhorn cheese.  The burger 
was wrapped in two squares of sandwich paper tied in a knot.  Fries were also served, also tied into 
a knot. The grease still came through from both but man, those burgers were amazing.  

I can duplicate the whole thing EXCEPT for that amazing chili.  Can you help?  

In any case, thank you for trying.

Sincerely yours,


Hello Marie,

In Southern California, there are multiple burger joints called “Original Tommies”, “Tom’s Original”, “Tom’s Super Burgers”, just “Tom’s Burgers”, and other similar names. The one at 1398 E Highland Ave in San Bernardino, CA is called “Tom’s Original Super Burgers”, and it’s been there since at least the mid-1950s. There are branch locations in nearby Fontana and Rialto. This business, including the one on Highland in San Bernardino, is still in operation. If you use Google maps and go to the street view of 1398 E Highland Ave in San Bernardino, CA, you can view it.

“Tom’s Original Super Burgers” is noted for its chili burgers, but I could not find any mention of a ”torpedo burger” from there, nor could I find any specific mention or recipe for their chili.

“Tom’s Super Burger” in Los Angeles offers something called a “Tijuana Torpedo”, consisting of 2 Angus patties, Pepper Jack cheese, Chipotle sauce, roasted Poblano chiles, and onions. It’s served on an odd-shaped roll with pointed ends. However, there’s no chili on it, as such.

I’ll post this on the site. Maybe a reader knows of a tastes-like recipe for the chili. I wouldn’t expect to find the actual chili recipe unless a former employee of the place sends it.


From: "mike" 
Subject:  toms torpedo burgers
Date: Sunday, January 04, 2015 4:27 PM

Love growing San Bernardino ,family treat every other Friday and  tom relish burgers, torpedo burger.
i think he did sell to other buyer but food not the same it gone now, with all my memories eating 
under that big tree nothing like Tom burger from LA

Ken's Steakhouse Clams Casino

From: "Peter" 
Subject: Recipe submission
Date: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 8:21 PM

Hi Phaed,
First, we want to thank you for your terrific website. We have been fans for many years. 
A long time ago we got this recipe from Ken's Steakhouse in Framingham, MA. They are still in business. 
It was published in the Boston Herald newspaper. The item is no longer on the menu, at least as far as I can find.

Ken's Steakhouse Clams Casino

16-20 small or littleneck clams
Juice of a small lemon
About 30 Ritz crackers, crushed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1/4 c vegetable oil
6 strips of bacon

Open the clams and place them face up on a sheet pan. Squeeze lemon juice over the top of each one. 
In a mixing bowl, combine crackers, garlic, parsley and oil. Mix thoroughly. Sprinkle the cracker 
mixture on top of each clam, covering the clam meat. Cut the bacon crosswise in squares and place 
one on top of each clam. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, until the bacon and bread crumbs are crisp.  
Serves 8.


Hilltop Steakhouse Recipes

From: "Peter" 
Subject: Recipe submission
Date: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 8:21 PM

Hi Phaed,

Also, FYI, the famous Hilltop Steakhouse in Saugus, MA recently closed its doors, forever. 
Their affiliated butcher shop still has about 120 of their recipes online, but I have no idea 
how long they will leave them up for the public. The website is Hilltop Steakhouse 
Unfortunately, the recipe for their Lobster Pie is not on the website. It was the best.

Again, my wife and I enjoy your great website. Thanks,

I copied this recipe off of the Internet at least 10 years ago. It may be a recipe clone.       

Timm in Oregon

Hilltop Restaurant Lobster Pie


For the Topping:

1/4 cup buttery cracker crumbs or use Ritz brand
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
4 tablespoons butter, melted, divided
1 tablespoon potato chips, finely crushed

For the Filling:

8 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 cups cooked lobster meat, chopped
2 tablespoon all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups half and half
4 large egg yolks


For the Topping: 
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. In a small bowl, stir together cracker crumbs, paprika and cheese. 
Stir in the butter until evenly mixed and set aside.
For the Filling: 
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the sherry and boil 1 minute. 
Add the lobster, stir, and remove from the heat.

In a medium size saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining butter. Add the flour and cook while 
stirring until the mixture is smooth and glossy; remove from the heat. Drain and reserve sherry and 
juices from the skillet with the lobster meat and then slowly whisk this liquid along with half-and-half 
into the butter/flour mixture. Return to the heat and cook while stirring continuously until the sauce 
is smooth and thick.

Spoon 4 tablespoons of sauce into a small bowl. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after 
each addition. Return the egg mixture to sauce and mix well. Stir over low heat about 3 minutes; 
don't let it boil. Remove from the heat and add the lobster. Pour the mixture into four ramekins or 
a gratin dish. Sprinkle with the topping and bake until golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. 
Serve lobster pie warm.

This is why we love your website. Thanks so much.

From: John 
Sent: Monday, February 20, 2017 2:35 PM
Subject: Lobster Pie from the Hilltop Steakhouse

Where can I find this recipe?

Hello John,

See here: See Above

There’s another possibility here: Lobster Pie


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