Q & A with Debbie Thomas of Thomas Hill Organics
–Thomas Hill Organics has been around for a while and I would call it one of the core restaurants in downtown Paso Robles. When I found out that Debbie Thomas, owner, was opening a second location in San Luis Obispo I was intrigued and that intrigue led to this Q & A. Let’s get to know a little bit more about the woman behind THO.
How long have you been on the Central Coast?
I moved to the Central Coast in July 2004 from Pasadena. I took a position with Adidas to be able to move up to Paso.
When did you get into the restaurant business?
I started the restaurant 7 ½ years ago, January 15, 2009. My largest accounts with Adidas had closed and I did not want to move. At the time I was part owner of a 10-acre organic farm. It just seemed natural to start a restaurant utilizing the 900 fruit and nut tree production.
Were you in the food industry prior to that?
No, but I love good food and good wine.
When did you open Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Robles?
Jan. 15, 2009.
How would you describe the food?
Creatively inspiring. The local flavors shine through. There is nothing like fresh produce picked directly from the soil and then served. We also serve natural and grass fed proteins.
Who is the chef at THO and where is he/ she from?
I have two chefs and one executive chef. The Executive chef is Justin Casey. He was the chef at Granada Bistro for the last three years. Running the kitchen in our SLO restaurant is Elijah Blackburn from SLO Provisions. Steve Smeets runs our Paso kitchen and he came from Morro Bay Inn.
What has been your focus for THO?
Farm to Table with an emphasis on organic. I was the only one on the Central Coast to have their own farm. We were truly farm to table.
Do you have a philosophy or mission statement about your restaurant?
I believe in using local products whenever possible to not only support our community, but locally grown and sourced products taste better.
You are opening a second location in San Luis Obispo, how did that come about?
Yes, It opened Nov. 14. I was in discussions with Copeland Properties for four years. Finally a little over a year ago we started the actual project.
Where is it located?
858 Monterey St., SLO. We are upstairs above William Sonoma
Will the second location be the same as the Paso Robles THO or will there be differences (will it be the same chef, same menu, etc.)?
Different chef, Elijah Blackburn at the helm with Justin Casey overseeing both operations to ensure consistency. The menus will be different
Do you plan on having any special events (live music, wine nights, etc.)?
Yes, we will have live music and we are in the process of forming our calendar for special events. We are looking to host holiday parties in both locations. We will also cater off site parties and events.
Are you going to be splitting time between the locations or more heavily at one or the other?
The next two months I will spend most of my time in San Luis ensuring everything is running smoothly. The Paso location seems to run on its own but it is still my baby so I will not ignore it too much longer.
What are the days and hours of operation for each restaurant?
Sunday brunch 10 to 3
Monday though Saturday lunch 11 to 3
Sunday through Thursday dinner 5 to 9
Friday and Saturday dinner 5 to 10
San Luis Obispo:
Saturday and Sunday Brunch 9 to 3
Monday thru Friday lunch 11 to 3
Sunday through Thursday dinner 5 to 10
Friday and Saturday dinner 5 to 12