My journey started by going crabbing every morning at 4 a.m. with my dad Paul Thompson Sr. We crabbed about 500 pots every morning, and followed it up with breakfast at Grandma’s on Saint Patrick Creek – fresh fish and biscuits cooked on the wood stove, with softshell crabs, fresh chicken from the coop in the yard, potatoes and home-made chow chow relish. My love of good home-cooked food goes way back! Then it was off to the market with the catch of the day!

I worked at a local tavern doing several jobs: kitchen prep, mopping floors, scrubbing the kitchen and even ironing my boss’s clothes! I’ve always been great at multi-tasking. In 1976, I started working for my dad at our seafood corner market for a whopping $1 per hour, along with my mom, dad, and our whole family. That was when I knew I wanted to start cooking. I started with catfish, my great-grandmother’s coleslaw and fries. As the years flew by, I built a larger menu, had to get two phone lines, and people were lining up at the counter for my cooking! I really enjoyed making people happy and knowing they were smiling because of my food. My dream became owning my own café.

In 2008, I finally opened my own restaurant! We started out only serving lunch, and I worked both the market and the café. I became so busy I had to expand my hours to serve lunch and dinner at the café and I had to quit working at the market. I start my days at the café now, ordering fresh seafood every morning and doing all my own kitchen prep work. I’m there all day every day during the week and Saturdays, then I spend my Sundays catering both large and small events. I love what I do and I’m so grateful to have been blessed with such success. My customers enrich my life!

Behind all the craziness of the busy café, I run my household of three children with my wonderful wife of 17 years. My kids are always helping out at the restaurant and my wife is our accountant! Our family evenings are spent enjoying each other while fishing off the dock and watching the kids do what they love. My daughter is a singer, my younger son loves to play ball and our older son likes racing street bikes. My wife keeps the schedule with the daily routine flawlessly intact. There’s a lot of fun in the craziness in the Thompson household but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Leonardtown's Best Kept Secret!