What does this business do?
We are a restaurant and bar.
What was the impetus for opening this business?
We wanted to provide good food and spirits to the public in the tradition of Tom Fritts, who owned Gentleman Tom’s before us.
What is the best thing about being located in DeMotte?
The hometown feeling is the best thing about being located in the small town of Kersey. We actually have a DeMotte address. Kersey doesn’t have its own zip code.
What is the biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenge is satisfying the public. We work hard to give our customers good food and good drinks. We’re a non-smoking facility as well.
When is your busiest time of the year?
It has been steady since we opened in June.
What is the most popular thing you sell/service you provide?
We provide comfort foods and spirits. Our half-pound burger is very popular and our Italian beef is the best around. We buy our Italian beef from Illinois.
What is a less popular item/service you would recommend?
Our cod sandwich, people usually go with the perch or the burgers, but cod is a forgotten fish. We serve it deep fried with lettuce, tomato, cheese (if ordered), tartar sauce, whatever the customer wants. For lunch we serve it with a side of french fries or coleslaw, and for dinner we offer a baked potato and salad. We make all of our food to order. We also still do the 26-ounce ribeye steak, just like Tom did!
What is the thing you most like to do as part of your business?
We like to mingle with the customers. We are continuing a Gentleman Tom tradition of bike runs to benefit local food pantries. We’ll have one this June on the Sunday after Father’s Day. We are female friendly and biker friendly. We have a group of ladies from DeMotte who come once a month to enjoy drinks and dinner.
What is the best thing about owning your own business?
The hours. I can come and go as I please. There’s no one breathing down my neck.
What is the biggest downside?
The hours! We spend a lot of time here, 24/7. I’m a professional shopper, so I go to the store 10 times a week. I am also a hands-on buyer and I go to Michigan or Chicago for certain items as well as ordering from vendors.
What is the biggest misconception about your business?
The biggest misconception is that Gentleman Tom’s is only a restaurant. It’s also a fully stocked bar where someone can stop in and have a drink. We have two big screen TVs behind the bar, a dart board and a digital juke box for customers to enjoy.
How would you describe your business philosophy?
If it’s good, they will come!
When it comes time to retire is there a family member who will be taking over for you?
My parents have four grandchildren, so who knows, it may be a family thing.
How has your business changed over time?
It’s too soon to tell yet, but I keep telling people I’ll let them know in a year if I like it.
What advice would you give someone thinking about starting a business?
A good friend once told me, “Don’t sweat the small things. They will drive a person nuts.”
Gentleman Tom’s Hideaway is open on a trial basis at 7 a.m. Normally, it opens at 11 a.m. and is open seven days a week. On Sunday, they open at 11 a.m. It is located just north of State Rd. 10, east of DeMotte in Kersey. For Lent, the restaurant is offering seafood specials, and for St. Patrick’s Day, corned beef and cabbage dinners.