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Let's Eat: Tomlin

Tomlin is known for their ever-evolving menu, always updating based on the season.

Steve Simpson and Nancy Shaw are the owners of Tomlin, which opened in August of 2014. Steve and Nancy had previously worked together at the Sovereign Room and after a couple of years they decided to move on and start their own thing.

Tomlin is known for their ever-evolving menu, always updating based on the season. They run a tasting menu, they’ve been doing that for years.

“It’s a family style tasting menu and we definitely have become known for that over the years,” Steve says.

“We’ve been dry aging ribeyes since we opened and offering those, and our pot de creme dessert has been on the menu for most of our operating years. But other than that what we’re known for is a constantly changing small menu. All of our menus are always done in a very collaborative way the entire kitchen staff has a voluntary meeting and we bounce around ideas.”

The staff at Tomlin endeavour to make a menu based on ingredients they are excited about and include other local businesses in their process. St Paul’s Roastery and Heartbeat Hot Sauce appear as well as mostly local produce — once Debruin’s tomatoes are ready they don’t buy from anywhere else. As well as working a lot with Belluz Farms and Veg∙e∙tate Market Garden, and some of their meats are sourced from local farm Sandy Acres.

Tomlin is part of a small corporation that Steve and Nancy own called Home Ec Restaurants Ltd., which operates a few businesses in town.

“Tomlin is our flagship and what makes the whole thing tick. We do all of the catering at the Chanterelle under the Tomlin catering umbrella. All the food and beverage service at the Chanterelle is us,” Steve says.

The Chanterelle is a separate business with which they share a partnership. The Chanterelle takes care of all the bookings and the rooms and the Tomlin crew takes care of all the food and beverages.

They also own and operates Barkeep, which is almost completely operated by the two managing partners there.

“It’s something we were able to do because it was a goal of theirs and they’ve been really incredible at taking on pretty much all of the work of operating it, and we’re a little bit of a hub for them, we do all of their food prep at the restaurant and I help out with the paperwork stuff. But they pretty much run that whole place themselves and that makes us very proud.”

They also opened Tomlin Subdivision in May, which is a Detroit-style pizza place that is located inside Lakehead Beer Company — another local partnership — so people can have a slice while they sample the local brews.

Now that eateries are opening up again, they are excited to work on these projects and improve upon the success they have already had with their businesses.

Steve is proud of their ongoing evolution.

“The whole team is excited to see what they can do to improve upon and accomplish in these various spaces. They’ve just done an expanding phase and now they are working on a dialing-in and improving phase.” With University starting up has already had a really positive influence on Subdivision, with lots of students discovering what local eateries have to offer.

Steve highlights the importance of their dedicated staff for their ongoing success. “It’s their incredible work daily that makes this whole thing happen.”

For more information check their websites:

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