“When opportunity knocks, you have to open the door,” Thomason said. “Middletown is the place to be. I am humbled and grateful that city was so helpful.”
Thomason will lease the bar and grill section of Murphy’s Landing and will be available for catering services for the event center.
“This is what I’ve been longing for,” Thomason said. “We’re looking forward to growing our business and working with the economic development department.”
Thomason said she originally opened a restaurant on Yankee Road. She left that space in May 2019 due to building issues. In September 2019, she and a friend opened Fresh Café in Monroe until it closed in 2020. In March 2020, she moved to the Pendleton space.
“I think this is awesome,” Thomason said. “We’ve worked through the pandemic.”
She said the family business is going to expand, and she hopes to hire more servers and workers in other roles. Starting out, she said the business will continue to offer take-out and delivery service via GrubHub and DoorDash before transitioning to a sit-down restaurant as the COVID-19 restrictions are lessened.
According to Chris Xeil Lyons, city economic development director, the agreement says that Thomason needs to stay in business in Middletown a minimum of two years. If the business closes, ownership of the equipment purchased will revert to the city of Middletown.
“This is a great project to support a woman and minority-owned business,” Lyons said. “She has a great following on social media and brings many visitors into downtown Middletown.”
Thomason told city officials she also plans to work with Butler Tech and Middletown City Schools to work with students and allow them to earn credits and Safe Serve certification by learning and volunteering at her restaurant.
“I’m excited for what the future is going to be,” Thomason said. “It’s beautiful over there and we’re going bring a lot of people to Middletown.”