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Brett Thomas met his wife, Catherine, while working at Hot Thomas Bar-B-Que. He then proposed to her there. And of course, they had their wedding reception at the cotton gin of his cousin, Oconee Commissioner Mark Thomas.

For 36 years, Hot Thomas Bar-B-Que has been more than just Oconee’s longest operating restaurant; it’s served as the ultimate gathering place—the symbolic center of a community. Its patrons have raised tens of thousands of dollars to help a woman diagnosed with ALS and a man with cancer. Its quaint, rural building with vintage décor has hosted church groups, civic clubs and politicians. Before it was a restaurant, it was a general store. The father of the late Commissioner Bubber Wilkes cut people’s hair there. 

On Saturday, Mark and his wife, Dianne, will serve their last dine-in customers. 

For more on this story, see the Aug. 6 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 

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