In what is the perfect spot, opposite Los Angeles’ 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 this Denver-based operation seems to know what they are doing after I checked the place out at a media tasting.
This is truly a massive establishment 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. Additionally, there is a nice ethnic flavor to a lot of the menu items including Middle Eastern/Moroccan style items.
The man behind the concept is Tom Ryan, who looks like an American version of Richard Branson circa 1990. He is not a chef, but in fact a food scientist who earned a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate in Flavor and Fragrance Chemistry from Michigan State University.
Interestingly, he started his career in the restaurant industry at Pizza Hut bringing products such as Lover’s Line, Breadsticks, 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, but his road to independence came in 2007 when he founded the Smashburger chain, which in a short time has built a reputation for excellent burgers.
Next on his prolific journey was the opening of 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 its latest outpost.
Here are some of the items tried at the tasting that were noteworthy: The Ginger Chicken Pot Stickers in a Seoul dipping sauce ($7.25) were easily the best thing on the menu, although I did enjoy the sliders ( two for $9.75) with Angus beef and all of 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—sans cheese.
Talking about cheese, Toms Urban must use a lot of it, as other items on the menu highlight it, such as the Buffalo Wings which featured blue cheese, grilled Croatian fig jam, plus 3 cheeses speaks for itself, along with the San Marzano Meatball Marinara which includes Sonoma Goat cheese. Not stopping there, the Baby Kale plus White Bean Urban Pizza had Asadero cheese and more Sonoma goat cheese.
There are lots of exciting libations on the menu spearheaded by head mixologist Ken Kodys. This Boston-born cocktail wizard moved to Colorado where he has continued to perfect his craft winning numerous contests including the 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup 2012 as a part of team USA.
Open for breakfast,lunch,dinner and late night.