Tommy was originally played by Alfred Lutter III, (who played the role in the film). He was later replaced by Philip McKeon, actress Nancy McKeon's older brother. Nancy and Philip Mckeon (I)' acted together on two shows of Alice. Nancy McKeon is best known for her humorous role, on The Facts of Life (1979), as Jo Polniaczek.
The actual restaurant building, that this show is based on is located in Phoenix, Arizona, at 1747 NW Grand Ave. It is currently called Pat's Family Restaurant. It was known as "Mel's Diner", from 1976 to 1985.
The show may have been loosely based on "Mel's Diner" on NW Grand Ave in Phoenix, Arizona. However, nothing but the lighted sign with the coffee cup was used. Nothing about the set (staged and filmed in Burbank, CA) is even close to the diner's actual interior layout. "Pat's Family Diner" was the original name and since then, has been re-named, "Mel's Diner".