While we've been deciding what to make for dinner and figuring out if we should get bangs or not, our good mate Tommy, of Tommy's Tex-Mex, has established a name for himself as both a young business owner and enchilada connoisseur and we can't help but feel a little jealous that we haven't got our shit sorted out yet (although I did just decide to have Mexican for dinner, so that's one small weight off my chest).
Nestled in the humble country town of Bathurst, which is populated with 80% super lose-canon university students,10% absolute rev-heads and 10% miscellaneous creatures who are just doin' their thing, Tommy's Tex Mex is a thriving hub of good food, good people and zero bullshit.
We spoke with Tommy about what it means to own your business in your 20s, why he chose to base his bizz in Bathurst and asked him to offer some sage advice for young, aspiring entrepreneurs.
Who are you and what’s your deal?
I’m Tommy and I sling beers and burritos into Bathurst. I’m a husband, an artist, a food lover and a bartender.
Was owning a business in your 20s always on the cards for you?
Yeah kinda...I love creating a concept, bringing it to life, and seeing how it runs. Working bars in both Melbourne and Thailand was so much fun and I pretty much wanted to make partying my occupation.
What has been the best and worst part about getting Tommy’s up and running?
The worst thing was the slow realisation that this was going to take over my entire life - Hahaha, that sounds so grim, It’s not though. I really love doing it. I guess I was just super naive when we started. Owning your own business is so much huger than you can understand.
The best thing about having Tommy’s is how much people dig it! I love seeing those friendly regulars and working with some of the best people I have ever met. My staff rock.
If you were a dish on your menu, what would you be?
I’d be a plate of like 1 million different tacos with extra hot sauce.
What was your thought process behind choosing to base your business in small, country town Bathurst?
I love Bathurst heaps. People are more genuine out here and really give a shit about their community and the people in it. You can afford to push boundaries and be super personal with your customers because of the smaller population and people really appreciate me doing out of the box stuff. I think sometimes people can underestimate the Bathurst food market and downplay their stuff. People here ain’t dumb man, they love wild ideas just as much as city folk.
What would you put in the ultimate cocktail?
Trick it up with some hella old cognac and gold leaf like a king, haha. If I'm serious my ultimate cocktail would have something like:
... and some tricky bitters like truffle or walnut bitters
If Tommy’s was a _______ what would it be and why?
a) Simpson’s character - Otto cause we like listening to metal and getting on the jam jars.
b) Beyonce Song - We’re more of a Kelly Rowland type of place.
c) Cocktail - The Marg Simpson which we invented. It’s a margarita with Blue Alize in it.
d) Aussie legend - Our bartender Dillon said Geoffrey Rush and King’s Speech is a mad film.
What advice would you offer to people in their 20s who were thinking about opening their own business?
It will have huge ups and huge downs. It will take over you and your every waking thought. You will be tired all the time, but when you look over what you created when it is working at optimum levels, it is the best feeling.
Make sure you have people to support you when you feel super overwhelmed, and get a book keeper - they are worth every damn penny. A lot of people try to do everything on their own but it’s too hard.
In all honesty, what percentage of your diet is now made up entirely of Tommy’s?
Ha, like 96%! So much, but I hack the menu a little bit. The tacos and burgers that I make are ridiculous.
What do you when you’re not pouring beers and frying fajitas?
I try to fit archery into my life. A few locals from around here take longbows out to properties and shoot targets through the bush. It’s super fun and really hard. I also hang out with my misso, pat my cat, brew my own beer and pickle stuff.
Next time you're driving through Bathurst make sure to check out Tommy's and in the meantime you can go ahead and 'like' them on the ole' FB.