A ‘game changer’ to the community

Published 3:44 pm Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tyler and Heather Thomas, owners of the new, upscale American restaurant on the square were the guests of Rotary this week, giving Tyler the opportunity to speak about his restaurant background and how he and his wife Heather decided to open a business in Bainbridge.

Tyler graduated from FSU’s School of Hospitality, but before that he began working at age 16 in an Outback restaurant. After helping open new restaurants in other areas for 8 or 9 years, he moved back to Tallahassee and took a job in advertising and sales.

He and Heather would venture out weekends to other communities and stumbled on Bainbridge. It seems they were immediately impressed with the town square and the people they met along the way. They decided to open their own restaurant here.The restaurant has now been open about four months, employs 29 people, with intentions of adding another five or six if things continue to go well. Nearly all of the employees are local or from the area.

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Tyler stressed that their goal when they renovated the building was to preserve and reflect the charm and character of the historic building. They also wanted to reverse the trend of people leaving Bainbridge to go out to eat, while attracting customers  from other communities.  It is their hope that their venture will encourage others to come open a business in the downtown and bring in more commerce and jobs.

They eased into the business initially, offering only dinners, but are now offering lunches Tuesday through Saturday. Tuesday has been designated sushi day. They are also offering private parties and recently opened for a Sunday buffet when the City had the Christmas Open House. They are planning a New Years Eve Brunch on Sunday, Dec. 31; but will only repeat Sunday buffets on special days, such as Easter and Mother’s Day.

As photos of some of their most popular entrees were shown, he explained how all of their food is hand prepared from the very best ingredients they can find, and served fresh.

In answer to a question about how many cooks there are and how he is sure they maintain his standards, Tyler said they have 13 cooks, five per lunch and five per dinner. “We have standard recipes and make sure they are followed with the proper procedures. We try very hard not to compromise our standards. We never want to cut corners.”