Monday, September 1, 2008

What went before? 2420 N. Broadway

Today it's a shoe store but once upon a time 2420 N. Broadway was the home of the originator of the chili size Ptomaine Tommy (aka Tommy De Forest) and is not to be confused with The Original Tommy's.

According to Tommy's recipe the chili size (also known as the hamburger size) consisted of two hamburger patties about 4 inches in diameter. The beans that cover the patties are soaked in salt water overnight then cooked in a 40-quart pressure cooker. Each patty is covered with a half cup of beans and a half cup of chili. The chili is made with tomato puree, canned tomatoes and drained ground beef for two or three hours - chili powder is added afterwards. To this concoction add onions and viola -the original chili size.

In 1913 Tommy bought a lunch wagon for $75 and 'Texas Tamale Tommy's Ptomaine Tabernacle' could soon be seen around Ave. 22 and N. Broadway. He moved to the 2420 location in 1929 and this became the mecca to which all walks of life flocked to get their chili size fix. To stay humble Tommy kept a model of his original cart in a bottle in the window. Tommy leased the business to Berkeley W. Batchelor from 1946 to 1954 and took it over again after Batchelor's death. Unfortunately Tommy's health declined and the business had trouble staying afloat, succumbing to its creditors Ptomaine Tommy's closed its doors on August 10, 1958.

Tommy De Forest died August 18, 1958.