Bethesda Magazine | January-February 2017

Meet the Thomases

Bethesda couple first kept relationship secret over parents' friendship

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Katie and Cherian Thomas in their Bethesda home with their son, Devassy, and dog, Osito. Photo by Liz  Lynch

Cherian and Katie Thomas’ first meeting was no coincidence. His parents and her father grew up in Kerala, India, and became friends decades later when they came to the United States. Cherian and Katie knew of each other but hadn’t met until Katie was pursuing her master’s degree in Chicago, where Cherian was working. Cherian’s parents asked him to “keep an eye” on Katie, who grew up in Frederick, as she adjusted to the Windy City. “I certainly kept more than an eye on her,” Cherian says with a laugh.

The pair initially kept their relationship a secret, afraid of ruining their parents’ friendship if anything went wrong. Today, Cherian, co-founder and CEO of the dining app Spotluck, and Katie, an architect at NASA, live in East Bethesda with their 9-month-old son, Devassy, and their sheltie, Osito.

Out and about: On Sundays, Cherian, 32, and Katie, 34, take Devassy to the Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center in North Bethesda for swim lessons. “The first dunk was a little scary,” Katie recalls. Devassy also enjoys walks in the park with the dog. “Luckily, Osito is very tolerant of the new little hands that are always tugging at his fur,” Katie says. When they need an escape of their own, Cherian and Katie jet around on their Vespas.

Playing host: With lots of friends coming in from Spain, India and England (where Cherian was born), the couple says their house is like a bed-and-breakfast. “We can have a couple drinks, hang out and then walk to a place to eat. We also like to have campfires in the backyard and make s’mores,” Cherian says.
They even have extra bikes for guests.

Hidden treasures: “We found a shuffleboard court under the basement carpet and a 1930s cartoon book when we renovated the bathroom,” Katie says of the couple’s 1933 home. She’s thought about hiding something for the next owners.  

Starting Spotluck: “Cherian and I always talk about ideas, and this was one where we both were like, yes, this is it,” Katie says. The free app randomly selects a local restaurant and offers users a discount. “I think what people love most is that it’s hard to find a place to eat in Bethesda because there are a gazillion choices,” Cherian says. “Spotluck helps people make a dining decision fast.”