A Visit to Eastside Big Tom: Dinner with the Dinosaurs

In the heart of Olympia, WA lies a positively prehistoric legend. Eastside Big Tom is the oldest fast food drive-thru in Washington state, first opening in 1948. In 1969, the Fritsch family took it over and created one of the best family friendly joints in Western Washington.


What started as a popular local spot for burgers, crinkle fries and milkshakes has become even more legendary thanks to some quirky and lovable design choices. This is sure to become a family favorite for all ages. Their drive-thru is convenient for a quick burger fix, but I recommend that first timers and families order from the walk-up window and grab a table in their outdoor seating to take full advantage of the experience!

restaurant wide shot

The Stars of The Show

Where else can you share a milk shake with a T-rex named Jeff? At Eastside Big Tom, you can enjoy a meal or a treat surrounded by all your childhood favorite dinosaurs! As you step foot into their open dining area, you are immediately transported to another time. During the COVID pandemic, current owner Michael Fritsch bought 29 life size (or close to life size) dinosaurs to create a jungle scene straight out of the Cretaceous Period.


There are dinosaurs in the trees, dinosaurs on cars and dinosaurs on the tables! Pterodactyls hang in the covered walkway from the parking lot. You can even take a selfie with a friendly stegosaurus or a toothy velociraptor. If you follow the walkway that continues around the front of the building, adjacent to 4th Ave, you can find more dinosaurs and a replica of the Ford Explorer from Jurassic Park. This one is appropriately labeled “Burgrassic Park.”


My son loves to explore all the areas where dinosaurs may be hiding. He has found egg nests and baby dinosaurs. There are even a variety of toy dinosaurs at each table to keep kids and adults entertained while they wait for their order.

little boy eating dinner
food at eastside big tom

Food and Drink

Eastside Big Tom features a classic menu. There are several smash burger options depending on how voracious your appetite is. A solid choice is the Big Tom, two beef patties with double cheese, their trademarked Goop, lettuce, pickle, onion and tomato. They also provide gluten free buns and Boca patties if you have dietary restrictions or preferences. 


If beef isn’t your thing, there are chicken and fish options. They also offer chicken strips, corn dogs or hot dogs on the menu. Be sure to grab some sides too. I am a sucker for their onion rings and some salty crinkle fries. Every time I go, I fall to temptation and order both. I never regret it. 


If you still have an appetite after all that, there’s ice cream and milkshakes! You can order a trusted favorite shake like chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla. Or if you are daring, each month, Fritsch creates a new special.

exploring eastside bog tom

The flavor combinations might be questionable, like peanut butter and pickle or crispy bacon and maple syrup; but don’t knock it until you try it. The milkshake special could become your new favorite. Eastside Big Tom offers different flavors of ice cream throughout the year.


In the summertime, it’s a wonderful reprieve from the heat to get an orange creamsicle dip cone or a vanilla/chocolate twist cone. In the fall, they offer seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice cones or milkshakes. Or you can get a hot chocolate to warm you up.

eastside big tom atmosphere

Eastside Big Tom is a solid choice for families and the young at heart. You can be sure that one stop here will make you a life-long fan.  Just remember, don’t feed the dinos! 

Eastside Big Tom is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 2pm for lunch and 4pm to 7pm for dinner. They are located at 2023 4th Ave E. Olympia, WA 98501. You can also follow them on Instagram (@eastsidebigtom) to stay up to date on specials, hilarious posts from Michael Fritsch, and even possible freebies!

Avatar photo

Alexandria Barclay

Hey! I’m Alexandria, but you can call me Alex! I moved to Washington state after finishing up my undergraduate degree in Arkansas. From childhood, my dad fostered a love of the outdoors and history. I am a solo mom to an amazing kiddo, and now I am passing on that love of the outdoors to him. After over a decade of social work and education, I have decided to be a full-time travel writer and content creator, focusing on my travels with my son and the history of the places we visit. You can find more of our adventures at www.alexandriabarclay.com and follow us @alexandriabarclay.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.