Jim Thomas - Executive Chef
My start in food service began at St. Louis Lambert Airport as a dishwasher. I worked my way up to Manager from 1976-1981. During that time I also worked at Al Baker's in Clayton where I was influenced by fine dining. I was mentored by Chef Robert Bathel at 7UP World Headquarters during the 1980's. By 1989, I was hired by Chef Damon Barber of Boccacio's, St. Charles first fine dining restaurant, and I worked there until 1999.
I then became a partner in Premiere Catering, serving upscale cuisine out of an old Dairy Queen location for 9+ years. During that time our #1 customers, Kevin Kaegel and his brother Elmer, dined with us every Friday night for years. That relationship led to this partnership with Kevin and the opening of Clayton's in July 2016.
Kevin Kaegel - General Manager
1978 B.S./B.A. Graduate of UMSL. Worked for 3 years with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis as an examiner. At 25, I decided to own my future. Spent 8 years in the insurance and investment business, purchased and grew a distribution business and was semi-retired at age 43. Became bored and started a vending company, during which time I met Jim Thomas at Premiere and enjoyed his cuisine for 7 years.
Jim and I formally started plans for an elegant dining restaurant with casual pricing in January 2016. Our goal became reality in July 2016 with the opening of Clayton's in O'fallon.