Braised Beef at The Tulip Tree

Casual fine dining with a Southern twist

At The Tulip Tree, you will find a personable and knowledgeable staff, a passionate Executive Chef, and a menu built from fresh ingredients that are seasonally focused and regionally sourced. Have a drink from our eclectic wine selection or see what signature hand-crafted cocktails our creative mixologists are whipping up. 

Whether you're hungry for weekend brunch, an intimate dinner, or a small group dining experience, The Tulip Tree is the perfect choice for a superb meal with true Southern hospitality.

Dean A. Thomas, C.E.C., C.C.E.

Executive Chef / Partner


A native of the Midwest and the Chicago-land area, Dean began his career in the hospitality industry as a young dishwasher. Dean went to Joliet Junior College to study Culinary Arts and soon moved on to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina to gain experience at opening many of the plantation developments. Dean took a sabbatical in pastries working for Chef Kurt Buchi at the Intercontinental Resort, and soon became the outlet chef for the Carolina Café at the Westin Hilton Head 5-Diamond Resort. After Hilton Head Island, the Thomas family departed to Tucson, Arizona where Chef Dean took the helm at the Westin La Paloma Resort's Country Club. 

Chef Dean's professional career exploded on the competition scene at a number of venues including winning the 1993 Pork Recipe Grand Prize, Champion of the "Arizona Taste of Elegance-1994" and competing at the National Taste of Elegance held in Chicago that year. In 2007, Dean received the honor by the National Pork Board as one of the five Celebrated Chefs in America and has hosted 2007-2008 consecutive National Taste of Elegance Championships at Barona Valley Ranch.

Chef Dean is truly a seasoned veteran to compete with numerous American Culinary Federation, (A.C.F.) Gold, Silver, and Bronze medallions to his portfolio of accomplishments. Most recently, Dean organized and coordinated the 2008 & 2009 San Diego & San Francisco Fancy Food Show A.C.F. Sanctioned Hot Food Competitions. Dean represented the State of California in the 2008 National Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans and was a finalist in both the National Wild Boar & Canadian Veal Contests. In 2009 Dean & Nicole found Temecula Valley Wine Country in Southern California where he reigned as the Chef at both South Coast Winery & Resort, then Europa Village Winery and the INN at Europa Village. Dean's reputation as chef/innkeeper in Temecula reached a high with both the community and his guests.

In 2019 Dean & Nicole relocated in a full circle return to South Carolina, that is, Greenville the upstare destination city in the Southeast for cuisine and tourism. Chef Dean Thomas is a consummate teacher, a true professional of leadership, and possesses a passion for cooking. 

Chef Dean believes in seasonal cuisine approach, regional ingredients, and that "less is more". One is only as good as their last meal served.