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Tallyrand co-founder Delores Thomas dies at 87

Delores Thomas
Delores Thomas, co-founder of the Tallyrand restaurant in Burbank, passed away on Aug. 5 at her home in Sun Valley. She was 87 years old.
(Courtesy of Karen Ross)

Delores Alexandria Thomas, the matriarch and co-founder of the Tallyrand restaurant in Burbank, passed away on Aug. 5 in her Sun Valley home. She was 87 years old.

Karen Ross, Thomas’ daughter, said her family held a private celebration for her on Thursday at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, where those close to her mother were able to say their last goodbyes.

The restaurant was also closed that day to celebrate Thomas’ life, and Ross said they are still receiving flowers from loyal patrons.

Thomas was born on Sept. 7, 1931, in St. Cloud, Minn., and she had two siblings. Her father ran a candy store and eventually opened a lunch-soda counter.


She moved to Los Angeles when she was 20 and studied to become an X-ray technician. Thomas then met her husband, Al, a Marine veteran who was working as a chef in his father’s restaurant.

The couple eventually opened Tallyrand, located at 1700 W. Olive Ave., Burbank, in 1959, and it has withstood the test of time.

Ross said her mother’s favorite dishes at the restaurant were the Popeye omelet, the Tally-melt (their version of a patty melt) and pancakes.

The restaurant celebrated its 60th anniversary in April, which Delores Thomas attended. Her husband passed away in 2003.


Ross, who runs Tallyrand with her brother Mark Thomas, said much of the success of the restaurant had to do with her mother’s strong will and attitude.

“My dad was like laid back and didn’t stir up any conflict,” Ross said. “My mom wasn’t afraid to take things head-on and was more direct. She really ran the ship and kept it all together.”

Besides having a successful restaurant, Ross said her mother had a beach house, which the family built on Capistrano Beach in Dana Point in the 1970s.

Delores Thomas is survived by her children, Mark, Karen and Kal, her grandchildren, Eric, Jenna, Kendra, Pammie, Matt and Katie and three great-grandchildren, Jack, Brynn and Dylan.

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