No more Thyme in the Ranch for you, or is it?

Thyme in the Ranch

Everybody loves the iconic Thyme in the Ranch breakfast and lunch deli that has been humming along with th finest delicacies for nearly a quarter of a century at Rancho Santa Fe.

The question now, however, is will the tradition continue now that owners Shane and Dawn Pursell have announced their retirement from the business of making the best lunches and baked good anywhere in San Diego County.

The Pursells want to sell, but the question is who will buy it and will they be able to maintain the top quality Thyme brand.

“I’m anxious to find somebody who’s going to love what we have here and ensure that it forever will be a community café,” Shane Pursell said to a source. “I have a lot of confidence in that with the approach we’re taking.”

The Pursells told the local news source that everyone has a good Thyme story to tell. “You can never retire,’ many customers say, but, alas, that isn’t true obviously for the time is coming soon.

“We wish we could be here forever,” Dawn Pursell said. “This is a really hard step for us because it’s been such an incredible experience.”

Shane Pursell added: “It really has had an impact on the lives of so many people, which I feel totally delighted about. It just doesn’t get any better than that.”

Thyme serves about 250 to 300 people a day, according to the Pursells.

“It just seems that we are busier now than we have ever been,” Dawn said. “The busiest year of 23 years was last year, every year it keeps growing.”

Shane Pursell said: “Embarrassingly enough, the menu has not changed much. The crazy part of it is that 85 percent of our regulars order the same thing every time they come.”

Not so crazy, actually. Restaurant research shows that many people, especially older people, find a restaurant and food they love and often return frequently rather than seek out new places.


Dawn and Shane Pursell/Courtesy

The Pursells issued a farewell letter to the Rancho Santa Fe community.

A heartfelt note from the Pursells to Rancho Santa Fe

To the community,

Dawn and I, Shane Pursell, wish to extend a heartfelt thank you to all. For 23 years Thyme in the Ranch has received the generous patronage and support of local residents, tourist and destination travelers from near and far. Our time in the village has been a great accomplishment for the both of us. We have enjoyed a very successful business, abundant friendships and a sincere appreciation for all we have created at the café.

We have been restaurateurs going on 45 years. Being at Thyme in the Ranch has been the absolute best period of our careers. Dawn and I have always strived to provide a consistent quality of foods and personable service, along with a welcoming ambiance for all to enjoy. Thyme has been well received by so many, for which we are very grateful.

Thyme in the Ranch had the potential to provide more, such as “Dinner Thyme,” a family-style dinner, Sunday Brunch and also extensive on or off premise catering affairs. All of this and more would have been well received yet, the simple truth is, our commitment to maintain a true balance between the quality of life, family and a prosperous business was our priority. Now with our sons, Kyle and Skylar, as young adults and engaged in their own success, it is our time to travel, play and enjoy a more casual pace.

In the past we have received numerous inquiries from people interested in the purchase of Thyme in the Ranch. At this time, we are now looking for a buyer and have chosen not to retain a business broker, instead we are reaching out to the community. We feel a strong connection to the community and are proud to acknowledge the contribution the café has made to life in the village. We are seeking a buyer who understands and respects the special character of the village and is familiar with Thyme in the Ranch and its many years of success. It is essential that this person or persons have many years of experience in the food industry.

We are confident our success in transferring ownership of Thyme in the Ranch will come through the community. Our hope is to find a perfect fit, someone who will embrace our success, recognize the potential of the café as well as the exceptional experience of being an entrepreneur in the village.

Rancho Santa Fe is a unique and wonderful community. We are very proud to have contributed Thyme in the Ranch as an experience for all to enjoy over the many years.

With our sincere gratitude and appreciation to all,

Shane and Dawn Pursell

For any and all inquiries, please email us at

Be the first to comment on "No more Thyme in the Ranch for you, or is it?"

Leave a comment