Who Was Bette Thomas

By MariJo Kolze

Bette Thomas, the owner of Waterloo BBQ restaurant, was born and raised in Stockton, California. Family was a priority to her as she was both a wife and mother who possessed strong values. Despite growing up in a difficult environment, she overcame all obstacles with her self-determination. Even in the face of adverse circumstances, she never let them hold her back from achieving her goals.

Prior to opening up her own restaurant, Bette Thomas worked as a hairstylist. Her lack of education led her to pursue a career in hairdressing. As the owner and operator of two hair salon businesses, she experienced success from an early age. Her reputation as a hairdresser grew in Stockton, California. It wasn't until later in her career that Bette Thomas decided to take her love of cooking into a career. Due to Bette's love of cooking for others and for making memories with her friends and family, she began to consider what options were available. After weighing her options and following her dreams, she decided to open a restaurant with her husband JT. When they opened their restaurant, they had no idea of the impact and success they would have.

Against all odds, Bette and JT Thomas opened a restaurant called The Waterloo. Despite her limited education and other potential factors, many people didn't think she could open a restaurant. The Waterloo is located in a small town in Stockton, California. Due to the restaurant's location and accessibility, it would be difficult to make a name for it. As well as other factors including limited assistance in running the business. When Bette's restaurant first opened, she served as the cook, while her husband JT worked behind the bar. It wasn't long before their business took off, and they grew their staff from just two to more than fifty people. They knew what it would take to be a successful restaurant, and eventually grew their business into The Biggest Little Giant's Town in the World. 

Choosing to open The Waterloo was one of the best decisions Bette and JT made. The importance of continuing her family's culinary tradition was very important to Bette. Several of Bette's famous dishes and sauces have been passed down from her family to her. Throughout her different meals, you can taste her Southern Italian flair. Family is so important to the couple, and you feel the same way when you visit The Waterloo. In fact, even the staff of the restaurant is in their fourth generation. Their goal is to make you feel at home and welcome. By implementing the traditions she started at The Waterloo, Bette has left a lasting legacy.