Our Rich History

Take a journey through the last 125 years of the Big Yellow House here in Washburn, the little town on the big lake and trace the footsteps of those who have graced this historic house as well as the evolution and rich history of Good Thyme restaurant.

Discover Our Story

Welcome to the tale of Good Thyme, nestled in the picturesque town of Washburn, Wi. From its humble beginnings as a catering business working out of a simple trailer with Renee’s dream to the Big Yellow House & culinary experience it is today this timeline will highlight the evolution of our story!

Private Residence

The Big Yellow House was originally built in 1898 by Monroe H. Sprague of the Akeley-Sprague Lumber Co. as a private residence.

The Speakeasy Days

The history of the next 30-40 years is unclear, however local elders share tales of a speakeasy, brothel, and hostel! Many of our more colorful characters share stories of liquor and beer arriving by boat to Bayfield during prohibition finding it’s way to our basement with was allegedly home to the occasional poultry fight.

The Voyaguer

While the bar graced the Southern most wall of todays current dining room, a stage proudly lived on the north-western stair landing. This was a favorite watering hole among many Northland College students.

Club Lido

While the bar graced the Southern most wall of todays current dining room, and a stage proudly lived on the north-western stair landing this was a favorite watering hole among many Northland College students.


Owned by Ben’s Aunt Annette & Uncle Jimmy, Ben took several of his very first steps here!

The Mierrottos

Mike & Wendy Mierrotto purchased Old Dairy Airport & the Big Yellow House in the mid 90’s.

Country Kids Daycare

Country Kids Daycare moved to the Big Yellow House in the late 90’s.

Private Residence (again)

The second story home and first floor daycare remained vacant for several years before being purchased as a private residence once again.

(Not a) Good Thyme

In 2008, the original Good Thyme Restaurant on Bayfield Street was lost to a fire on March 19h.

Good Thyme Restaurant

In July 2008, Renee Holman and friends purchased the Big Yellow Home and renovations began to what we know today as the Good Thyme Restaurant.

The First Of Many

In December 2008, Good Thyme hosts its first dinner for family & friends on a wood-fired grill! Family & friends enjoyed the first meal in the richly painted and decorated dining room.

Good Thyme Today!

2008 – 2023
Good Thyme is decorated with dozens of water color paintings of the collection of Karyln Holman, Renee’s mother who traveled the world teaching and painting. These travels would later shape what we know today as Foodie Tours, where Renee & Ben travel abroad to wine & dine with guests, family, & friends!

Dozens of world class Foodie Tours with Karlyn & Renee are led, thousands of guests dine Good Thyme Restaurant, and hundreds of weddings and events are catered by the gang!

Renee & Ben remain close friends and in contact regularly about all things hospitality and, of course, Good Thyme!

Changing Of The Guard

March 31st, 2023
Renee calls Ben to ask if he wants to purchase Good Thyme & move back home!

Let's Get The Party Started!

April 3rd, 2023
Ben calls Renee to say YES & the sale process begins!

The Sendoff

April 22nd, 2023
Renee host a Dinner to celebrate!

Gary recites a famous “Holman Here” poem to commemorate the transition from Renee to Ben.

A Family Affair

Thursday, April 27th, 2023
Ben with his mother Vicki as Accountant & advisor, father Dave as handy-man extraordinaire & Advisor, takes over Good Thyme Restaurant & Catering!

A New Home

June 2023
Sara Bara, Ema, & Noa join the Big Yellow House as their new home!

Current Day

Ben honors Renee, Karlyn & the history of Good Thyme each evening with stories told over great cocktails & food surrounded by beautiful art!