On August 3, 2021, Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar announced Thomas Dritsas as its new concept chef. Whiskey Cake is a fan favorite farm-to-table restaurant with locations in Plano and Las Colinas.
Thomas joined Whiskey Cake with almost 30 years of culinary experience. He started his career in 1999 at Sullivan's Steakhouse, owned by Plano-based chain Lone Star Steakhouse. He worked himself up to Lone Star's corporate chef position overseeing 276 Lone Star Steakhouses, 15 Sullivan's Steakhouses, 21 Texas Land & Cattles and 5 of Dallas-based Del Frisco's locations.
As corporate chef, Thomas fostered an environment that put employees first. Whereas most companies touted the belief that the guest was the most important person in the restaurant, Thomas believed it was the employee.
"If we tire great people with great attitudes who take care of our guests, then it won’t result in a prosperous business," he says.
Whiskey Cake's employee-focused approach is one of the main factors that attracted Thomas to the company.
“At Whiskey Cake, we care about their employees and let them be who they want to be. We’re not robotic. We’re not packaged. We’re us, take it or leave it,” Thomas says.
As concept chef, Thomas is in charge of culinary and creative initiatives. He works directly with market chefs, the head chefs at each Whiskey Cake location, to seek local partnerships and products to inspire unique regional dishes.
His short term goal at the company is to gain a deeper understanding of its past to make sure that he's building onto the brand's core values, which he calls its "DNA."
Long term, Thomas wants to expand the restaurant in a way that's sustainable for their employees, unlike many businesses that grow so quickly that they overextend their human capital.
This will also give him time to foster strong, mutually beneficial, relationships with local vendors. Whiskey Cake is often a vendor's first customer and the jumping off point for them to establish a flourishing business.
This was the case with Lelo's Coffee Co., a McKinney based coffee roaster run by Collin County residents Derek and Sandy Davis.
The couple has been eating at Whiskey Cake in Plano for 10 years. They got engaged in the restaurant, and now bring their two children to dine there as well.
When they decided to venture into the coffee roasting business, Whiskey Cake was excited to work with them. Since Apr. 2021 Lelo's Coffee Co. provides coffee for both the Plano and Las Colinas locations.
They operate out of a converted horse trailer, setting up shop in the Whiskey Cake parking lot to roast their beans fresh.
Thomas is already bringing with him a spirit of collaboration that further cements the restaurant as a community staple in Plano.
“There’s so many brands out there where they might say they’re localized, and they’re not. Whiskey Cake takes the effort to support local communities, and it’s a very reciprocal experience," Thomas says.
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