North Texas Daily

Local sandwich shop aims to support homeless veterans

Local sandwich shop aims to support homeless veterans

Local sandwich shop aims to support homeless veterans
August 11
12:00 2022

Though Patriot Sandwich Company is the brainchild of owner and army combat veteran David Jordan, it exists because a community of military veterans and their families helped pull it together.

When Jordan first opened the military-themed sandwich shop in 2020, strangers all over the country donated military artifacts, from old maps and documents and decades-old military uniforms, for him to use as decoration.

“People were like, ‘Hey, I got some stuff I could donate, I got some stuff of my grandfather’s you can have,’” Jordan said.

Jordan said every artistic detail in the restaurant has meaning and pointed to ceiling fans he painted to look like plane propellers from World War II. Each dining table has a shadowbox filled with donated military memorabilia so customers can get a history lesson along with their sandwiches. Every wall in the restaurant is dedicated to a military branch, sporting its colors along with vintage pictures of veterans and steamships.

David Jordan and Jacob Witherspoon make sandwiches on August 8, 2022. John Anderson

“The blue on top of the branch represents the sky, and the sand color represents the ground showing that the military protects everything from the sky to the ground,” Jordan said.

Keeping Patriot Sandwich Company afloat is not an easy task. A month after the restaurant opened in February 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the United States. The Small Business Administration loaned $28.6 billion to small businesses as part of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. However, Jordan said he was denied $86,000 in funding, despite being approved earlier. 

Behind on bills and with no other options, Patriot Sandwich Company shut down in November 2021. Jordan said losing the restaurant greatly affected his mental state.

“I felt like a failure,” Jordan said. “I felt like I let everybody down. I went to one of the darkest places I’ve been in seven years.”

An anonymous donor saw a Dallas Morning News article about the Patriot Sandwich Company and invested $45,000 in March. Thanks to Jordan’s 16-hour shifts repairing the restaurant, Patriot Sandwich Company was open within a week. 

“I’ll be honest – I cried,” Jordan said. “I was in complete disbelief. I didn’t think that it was ever going to happen again.” 

Despite fears of an incoming recession, Jordan is determined to make Patriot Sandwich Company successful and to maintain a positive attitude. He joked that if he has to sleep in the back of the restaurant, he will do it. 

“The future is unknown,” Jordan said. “All we can do is do our best to prepare for it.” 

Jordan said he still has more military artifacts coming. He pointed to a spot beside the front door and explained his plan to hang a mannequin in a Vietnam-era flight suit and parachute from the ceiling so that it looks like it is dropping into the restaurant. 

“It’s never been done before,” Jordan said with a smile.

Donnell Aldridge, nicknamed Red by Jordan for his bright red beard, has been working at the restaurant for the past two months. Aldridge, a Navy veteran, started as a loyal customer when the restaurant opened. He later started working at Patriot Sandwich Company after his previous roadside assistance job became too financially demanding. Until recently, he was the only other employee besides Jordan, but Aldridge said he just tries to help keep the business going.

Jacob Witherspoon prepares sandwiches on August 8, 2022. John Anderson

“If it were my business and the tables were turned I would want to know I can count on someone,” Aldridge said. “That’s that comradery bit of being former servicepeople.” 

Patriot Sandwich Company was started to support We Got Your Six, Jordan’s charity for homeless veterans in Texas. Ten percent of its proceeds went to support the charity before the restaurant closed. As of August 2022, We Got Your Six has helped 40 families. 

“The ones that are homeless by circumstance just need the right opportunity to help them,” Jordan said. “I want to be that opportunity. I want to be the person to help them get off the streets because I’ve been there. I know what it’s like.”

Patriot Sandwich Company’s menu is full of military references, including the “Flying Leatherneck” and the “Private Meatball,” a Jordan family recipe. Denton resident Jacob Witherspoon said he found the restaurant by chance after working out at a gym. He was so charmed by Patriot Sandwich Company staff and food that he soon became a frequent customer. 

“As great as they made the sandwiches sound – even what they said was an understatement, truly,” Witherspoon said. “The sandwiches are unbelievably delicious.”

Witherspoon said he started working at Patriot Sandwich Company three days ago because he wanted to give back to the community. 

“I don’t feel like I am at work there when I’m doing something I truly love,” Witherspoon said.

Jordan said Patriot Sandwich Company has been booming the past two weeks. He plans to open more chapters of We Got Your Six with corresponding locations of Patriot Sandwich Company to support it. 

“I can’t thank everybody who’s believed in me enough because this isn’t about me,” Jordan said. “This is about doing things for other people, and that’s what it will always be.”

Featured Image: Customers stand inside The Patriot Sandwich Company on August 8, 2022. Photo by John Anderson

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Hana Musa

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