Chef Omar Thornton Joins Washington Pavilion

August 17, 2021

Sioux Falls, SD Chef Omar Thornton joined Leonardo’s Café as head chef on Monday, August 16. In addition to supporting the café’s daily operations, he brings his culinary expertise to Leonardo’s booming events and catering business.

Thornton’s former business, “O” So Good, became a destination in Garretson after first building a reputation for Southern-style cooking and then took off even further when it was among area restaurants featured earlier this year on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” with Guy Fieri.

“If you’ve tasted Chef Omar’s food, you can imagine how excited we are to have him join our Washington Pavilion family,” said Darrin Smith, Washington Pavilion Management, Inc. President and CEO. “We saw an immediate fit with where he wanted to go next, and the opportunity to take our catering offerings and restaurant to a new level. We can’t wait to see, and taste, what this successful culinary master accomplishes here.”

“I’m so excited to be cooking in such a great location with an established team,” Thornton said. “After operating my own business, I was looking for a more stable schedule at a reputable and growing organization. I found that at the Washington Pavilion and am looking forward to creating delicious food for guests and helping think up new daily specials to delight our lunch-time crowd at Leonardo’s Café.”

Conveniently located on the first floor of the Washington Pavilion, Leonardo’s Café is open for dine-in and carry-out lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Guests can expect a Midwest comfort food menu – filled with fresh favorites including sandwiches, wraps, flatbreads, kid-friendly dishes and a soup and salad bar. Patrons will enjoy Thornton’s Southern influence in daily specials starting soon.

Leonardo’s also provides full-service catering to events hosted at the Washington Pavilion, Orpheum Theater Center and other venues. From weddings and parties to corporate events, Thornton will lead catering alongside professional event coordinating staff. For more information about event hosting or to hire catering services for an off-site event, contact 605-731-2345.

Ticket holders for the 2021-22 Pavilion Performance Season also will have the opportunity to dine at Leonardo’s during special hours before or after select performances. Reservations fill up quickly for these buffet-style, show-themed meals. For more information, visit or call 605-367-6000. 

About Washington Pavilion Management, Inc (WPMI) 
Washington Pavilion Management, Inc is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the largest arts organization in the state. The management company oversees and programs two historic City of Sioux Falls facilities: the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science and the Orpheum Theater Center. The company also provides professional management services, including administration; arts, science and educational programming; ticketing; event management; marketing; and more to other arts and nonprofit organizations.