South Pasadena, CA

Famed Twoheys Restaurant Opens in South Pasadena

Don Simkovich

A landmark returns.

The restaurant that's famous for its Stinko Burger has opened in South Pasadena on Fair Oaks Avenue with a curbside carhop for diners who want to drive in, park and eat up. To-go service will also remain available while the dining room is closed during the current Covid-19 health orders in Los Angeles County.

Twoheys got started in 1943 in Alhrambra during World War Two and served numerous celebrities including Cary Grant, Mickey Rooney and Bill Murray. They ate up the American fare of burgers, fries, and their famous sundaes.

Current owner Tanya Christos grew up eating at the landmark restaurant and has brought the American diner experience into the 21st century. A contemporary touch was applied to the Stink-o-logo, while alfresco dining and Happy Hour were introduced. The 5,200 square foot interior combines the nostalgia of a diner, including a soda fountain and lunch counter, in an open and bright space.

Her family and the Mallis family bought the restaurent from the Twohey family in 1997, and in 2019 the restaurant lost its lease at the intersection of Garfield Avenue and Huntington Drive. The move was made to the current location where Tanya says the purchase "was a natural extension for us" because the family had prior experience in the restuarant business.

Saavy business owners make contingency plans and know how to deal with the unexpected in their industries, but the Covid-19 restrictions were unforeseen. The original plan to open in summer 2020 was pushed back and Tanya says she's committed to seeing Twoheys through to a new and promising future.

Patio dining opened in October but had to close down temporarily, so the carhop service offers a dining alternative. Tanya says operating brightens the spirits of patrons who know that a restaurant has meaning as a gathering spot.

The first drive-in diners were members of the Trompers, a classic car club in Eagle Rock.

"The local community has been more than ready to welcome us. Not only have they been anxiously awaiting for us to open under normal circumstances, they were ready to feel a sense of normalcy back in their lives after so many months of covid."

Every landmark needs a gift shop and Twoheys will have an expanded retail outlet that sells milk and caramel toppings, along with branded coffee from Jones Coffee Roasters and apparel with the restaurant's logo.

A food truck is available for events and offers a choice of three Backyard Menu packages or a custom menu and a sound system. For the rest of December, Twoheys is offering a Holiday Family Meal Pack to Go and a hand-crafted drink.

Tanya says the staff is busy working with vendors and financial institutions to remain bustling at this critical time. "We are confident once we are able to open [indoor dining], we will have our loyal patrons supporting us and making memories again soon."

Twoheys is located at 424 Fair Oaks Avenue, South Pasadena. The restaurant is closed Tuesdays. For the full schedule and menus log on to the website.

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I interview entrepreneurs, and dig into the news around Southern California, giving a voice to business owners, artists and more. I also co-write the thriller novel series Tom Stone Detective Stories.

Pasadena, CA

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