Lawry’s is famous for its prime ribs worldwide. But few knew that before Lawry’s, it was Tam O’Shanter, a beloved steakhouse in Los Angeles.
The History of Tam O’Shanter
Delighting diners for 100 years, the Tam O’Shanter is Los Angeles’ oldest restaurant operated by the same family in the same location, starting with the founder Lawrence Frank in 1922. Since then, anyone who crosses their threshold— founders, coworkers, regulars, and first timers alike—are all equally welcomed as friends and family.
More than a steakhouse, the guests enjoy good cheer, warm hospitality, and exceptional food in a cozy old-world atmosphere. If you have some Scottish ancestry, you might even find your family tartan among the extensive collection decorating the walls.
Tam O’Shanter grew in popularity with the Los Angeles set, including actors, actresses like Rudolph Valentino and Douglas Fairbanks. Walt Disney became one of the Tam’s most loyal guests. A brass plate is set on the same very table – “Disney table” No. 31 – that Walt sat in.
The Imagineers of Disney came often and would leave behind their works. Some of these are still hanging on the walls. There’s such a close connection between Disney and the Tam that Disney Imagineering recently completed an anniversary painting to hang in the restaurant, featuring a kilt-wearing Mickey Mouse.
Lawrence constructed the Storybook Style building aided by movie studio carpenters. It was said that the hut that the seven dwarves stayed in was inspired by the decor of the Tam.
Besides these artworks, the latest generation of Pixar artists had carved their works on the same revered table. Sitting at the table, you can roughly seen the dinosaurs carved into the wooden table.
Every piece of wood which was used in this structure was thrown into fire first with the result that they never had to paint it and it got more beautiful as the years went by.
In the 1950s, the Tam installed the original Great Wall O’ Scotch to showcase bottles that Lawrence Frank and Walter Van de Kamp collected on their trips abroad. The wall has since grown to a renowned collection of more than 650 whiskies, including the exclusive Benromach 11-year, Tam O’Shanter Cask #938. Whisky Flights range from Superb Blends to Rare Whisky to Extremely Rare, which features a trio of closed distilleries: Cambus, Caperdonich, and Pittyvaich.
Once we placed our order, we were served the bread. Nothing outstanding about the bread, except that the crusty bread was really delicious after a whole day in Warner Bros Studio.
romaine lettuce, aged parmigiano-reggiano, house croutons
Unlike Lawry’s, which included the spinning salad bowl as part of the meal, the Tam required a separate order of the salad. We ordered a single order of the Classic Caesar, but they have kindly split it up into two plates. The plate in the photo was half an order.
Lawry’s World-Famous Prime Rib – Prince Charlie Cut
extra thick, always with the bone, include mashed Idaho potatoes and gravy, freshly prepared horseradish, creamed spinach or creamed corn
The largest cut on the menu, the Prince Charlie Cut, was a generous piece of prime rib on the bone. Perfectly medium-rare and tender with every bite, this prime rib was the best we had in our journey through LV and LA. They can split it to two for you for an extra with extra sides. But we knew the portion without extra sides would still be too much for us, so we just asked for an empty plate.
The horseradish was freshly prepared in house, and they were perfect compliments to the prime rib.
The Tam is still owned by descendants of Lawrence Frank and Walter Van de Kamp, the brothers-in-law who first partnered on a potato chip stand in downtown Los Angeles before opening the Tam in 1922 and going on to found Lawry’s Prime Rib.
The Scottish-themed dining rooms at Tam O’Shanter are some of the kitschiest around, with menu items like the Scotch rarebit, toad in the hole, pints, and even tea service. Highly recommended for the tourist and anyone who loved prime ribs.
Visited Feb 2023
#tamoshanterinn #tamoshanter #lawrys #lawrencefrank