Feature Stories

Spring 2018

One “Tam-tastic” Patio!

The April opening of the Tam O’Shanter’s new patio marks the beginning of another chapter in our 96-year-old restaurant’s rich history.

Tam-tastic (tam tas′ tik) adj.  1. quirky answer to a patio design issue at the Tam O’Shanter.  2. of or pertaining to having fun incorporating the old and the new at the Tam.  [2018 Scot. Tam O’Shanter+E. fantastic]

Founder Lawrence Frank hired his friend, Hollywood art director and creator of the original Van de Kamp’s windmill, Harry Oliver to design the Tam O’Shanter in 1922. He told Oliver to “make it a real standout,” like it was “from another time and place.” The designer reached deep into his bag of movie set building tricks and told his carpenters to put aside their levels so the walls would lean and curve. The original restaurant would take its place among Oliver’s famous “Storybook Style” creations.

Although today’s modern materials and techniques, not to mention safety requirements, dictated a different approach to our patio’s construction, we still wanted to reflect the spirit embodied in the Tam’s original design. Some unexpected discoveries and creative thinking provided fun ways to bring the Tam’s past into the present. During the process, Lawrence’s grandchildren, company CEO Richard Frank and his sister, Director of Design Susie Frank, coined a tongue-in-cheek term: “Tam-tastic.” (See definition above!)

…company CEO Richard Frank and his sister, Director of Design Susie Frank, coined a tongue-in-cheek term: “Tam-tastic.” (See definition above!)

Richard’s woodworking skills came in handy. He carved the “Tam-tastic” rough-hewn, fist-shaped doorstop mounted to a beam preventing the new patio/bar door from hitting the terracotta roof tiles. The impressive, heavy wood door, inscribed with the word “Cocktails,” is inspired by the restaurant’s front door in 1950s and is pretty “Tam-tastic” itself. He also shaped, sanded and stained the 125-pound, six-foot-long plank cut from an ailing, decades old ash tree on the property to form the mantel. It perfectly accents the whimsical fireplace and chimney modeled after the one in the Tam’s original Hansel and Gretel dining room.

Richard Frank hands-on during patio construction

When the crew broke ground for the project, they unearthed bits of pottery and a little, intact iridescent bottle among some shattered glass. More digging revealed a misshapen brick from the original Tam and many broken pieces of china cups and bowls, two clearly marked 1923. Realizing she had true relics to be “Tam-tastic” with, Susie decided to use a select few in the new patio.

Unexpected discoveries


Relics from the Tam’s past

If you look closely, you might find the small brick among the patio pavers and, embedded on a corner of the fireplace, a mini-mosaic made from some of the china. Something you won’t find is the box Susie secretly placed within a compartment in the chimney’s cement structure. It holds several of the ceramic and glass shards and a note to “future Tam lovers.” She also added creek rocks from the Pasadena neighborhood where she and three generations of Franks have lived to the fireplace foundation.

The box and note Susie secretly placed within a compartment in the chimney’s cement structure.

We can’t wait for you to see all we’ve done. Guided by Lawrence Frank and Harry Oliver’s vision and embracing the “Tam-tastic” whenever possible, we’ve created a space you’ll love. We’ve expanded the al fresco dining experience that was popular at the restaurant in the 1930s and ‘40s. Now you can enjoy craft beers, specialty cocktails and “Pub & Patio Faer” all day and into the night. And, even though the sport might be a little more popular in Rome than Edinburgh, you’ll be able to play a wee bit o’ bocce too in our new garden alongside the patio.

The Tam O’Shanter Patio is scheduled to open before the end of April. Follow us on social media or look out for our eblasts for more information on the grand opening date.

See you at the Tam!

Tam O'Shanter

2980 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039

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