Thoma is an award-winning and critically acclaimed restaurant operators from the Twin Cities—instrumental in creating Minneapolis iconic restaurants, La Belle Vie, Bar La Grassa, Barrio, and Solera. In 2003, the Star Tribune newspaper named Thoma “Restaurateur of the Year” for his outstanding work. He also received Mpls St Paul Magazine’s “2009 Restaurateur of the Year” award. Thoma began his career in the kitchen with D’Amico and Partners in 1991. After working for them for seven years and becoming Sous Chef at D’Amico Cucina, he left and opened La Belle Vie with business partner Tim McKee. La Belle Vie received immediate critical acclaim. In 2003, Thoma opened his second restaurant, Solera, located in the heart of the Twin Cities theatre district. Solera is a sexy, sleek homage to Spanish cuisine. Food & Wine Magazine hailed Thoma’s talents, naming Solera one of the best in concept direction, and growth planning. His most recent concept with partner Kevin Fitzgerald, Smack Shack, a casual-coastal food truck and restaurant, was lauded as having one of the best lobster rolls in the country by Bon Appetit magazine. Smack Shack continues to be one of the most financially successful restaurants in the Twin Cities.