Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, May 8th, 2014

Toms Urban opens at LA Live

Toms urbanIn what is the perfect spot opposite the Staples Center, Toms Urban has just opened up in what used to be the now defunct ESPN Zone. One can only imagine the rent and overhead that the owners are paying for this prime spot, but the Denver based operation seem to know what they are doing after I checked the place out at a media tasting. The place is massive with 400 plus seats, plenty of high definition plasma televisions to watch the action from the Staples Center and elsewhere, and an extensive menu that pretty much runs the gamut of popular and trendy food items. There is a nice ethnic flavor to a lot of the food including Middle Eastern/Moroccan style items.

The man behind the concept is Tom Ryan, who looks like an American version of Richard Branson twenty years ago. He is not a chef but in fact a food scientist who Earned a Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate degree in Flavor and Fragrance Chemistry From Michigan State University. He started his career in the restaurant industry at Pizza Hut bringing products such as Lover’s Line, Breadstick & Chicken Wings, Sicilian Pizza and Stuffed Crust Pizza to the chain. He then joined McDonalds as Chief Marketing Officer introducing such items as McFlurries, the Dollar Menu and McGriddles to the world.

Next up came a job as Chief Branding Officer at Quiznos, and in 2007 he founded Smashburger, and in a short time the chain has built a reputation for excellent Burgers. Then he opened the first Toms Urban in Denver where he still lives, but I suspect he will be spending a lot of time in Los Angeles checking on the progress of his latest project.

Here are some of the items tried at the tasting that I liked. The Ginger Chicken Pot Stickers in a Seoul dipping sauce ($7.25) were easily the best thing on the menu I tasted, although I did enjoy the sliders ( two for $9.75) with Angus beef and all the trimmings, even though they officially are listed as cheeseburgers. Since I am one of the few people in America not obsessed with cheese, they did a special order for me.

Talking about cheese, Toms Urban must use a lot of it, as other items on the tasting menu such as the Buffalo Wings which featured blue cheese, Grilled Croatian Fig Jam plus 3 cheese speaks for itself along with the San Marzano Meatball Marinara that heavily included Sonoma Goat cheese. Not stopping there, the Baby Kale plus White Bean Urban Pizza had Asadero cheese and more Sonoma Goat cheese.

Lots of exciting libations on the menu spearheaded by head mixologist Ken Kodys. The Boston born drinks wizard moved to Colorado where he has continued to perfect his craft winning numerous contests including the 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup 2012 as part of team USA.

Toms Urban
1011 S.Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015 

Open for breakfast,lunch,dinner and late night.

About the Author

- Michael Hepworth is a food, spirits and travel writer who contributes to magazines, newspapers and magazines in Los Angeles, Dubai, London and Mumbai.

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Toms Urban opens at LA Live