Eats Beat

Tommy’s Hamburgers, Fort Worth scenery co-star in high school football movie

Tommy’s Hamburger Grill is now a movie star.

The 40-year burger landmark at 5228 Camp Bowie Blvd. plays a hometown burger hangout in “The Last Whistle,” a high school football drama on iTunes or Amazon Prime.

Director Rob Smat, a former football player at All Saints’, decided to shoot the movie in his hometown.

Other scenes include several in the bar and lower dining level of Lonesome Dove Western Bistro.

“We wanted a certain large hamburger chain,” he said, avoiding the W-word.

“But Tommy’s worked out. It looks just like a place football players would hang out.”

Tommy’s has been playing that role since 1980, when it opened as a grill and sandwich shop named Under the Tower and drew lunch crowds from Arlington Heights High School.

Smat remembers going to burger grills as an All Saints’ student. (But more often to Chubby’s Burger Shack for the 4-pound “Chubby Challenge.”)

Other scenes include the Tarrant County courthouse, All Saints’ and Trinity Valley fields and local homes.

The drama stars Brad Leland (“Friday Night Lights”) and Jim O’Heir (“Parks and Recreation”), and also features Kansas Jayhawks football Coach Les Miles as an instigator who turns the unnamed town against the high school coach (Leland) after a player dies of a heart condition during the season.

Leland and Smat hosted a screening Sunday in Tommy’s for local friends and fans.

For more information, see For Tommy’s, see

Columnist Bud Kennedy is a Fort Worth guy who covered high school football at 16 and has moved on to two Super Bowls, seven political conventions and 15 Texas Legislature sessions. Since 1985, he has also written more than 2,000 “Eats Beat” columns about Texas dining, restaurants and food.