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Meet James Thorp of Rustic Root in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to James Thorp.

James, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
A month after I turned 21 I was eating lunch at Moose McGillycuddy’s in Pacific Beach and needed some part-time work while finishing up school at San Diego. I asked the server “April” if Mooses was hiring and she brought over an application that I filled out and gave to Michael Anelli (“oddjob” was his nickname) and a week later I was hired.

From there I went downtown through some industry friends and got hired on at Club 66/ROX in 2000 (CRG property, now Syrah) and worked my way from security to barback, bartender, floor manager, and then eventually General Manager at ROX giving me a lot of experience in my early 20s. I always worked at ONYX (when Black Flies was the store above) where I created some lifelong relationships that two of them were my groomsman at my wedding a couple years back.

From there on I joined the mega club at the time Stingaree and worked my way up to AGM until leaving in 2010 to open FLUXX Nightclub and worked there as the General Manager for 5 years till 2015 where a great opportunity came to open Rustic Root and take on more of a restaurant experience. I can say now that after 3 1/2 years of Rustic Root and almost 20 years in the industry that it has been a great ride and I wouldn’t change anything about it.

There is always a good and bad experience and most people tend to linger over the bad experience but I like to remember the good and think of the future.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Rarely is it a smooth road in the industry. There is always the new shiny venue opening across the street or around the corner going after your clientele. For example, some of the venues I have worked at have closed and opened sometimes more than even once.

Rustic Root – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Rustic Root is a restaurant that serves rustic American cuisine and great craft cocktails.

Our rooftop that gives you a look at the Gaslamp like no other venue really sets us apart from other venues in the Gaslamp.

I am proud that we are still able to put smiles on our gets faces and give them a great experience.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Pretty simple in my book, PROFIT!!! If the business isn’t making money I personally don’t feel successful. Being the General Manager of the venue I take the financials very personally and always am looking for ways to increase revenue and overall profit.

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