ROCKINGHAM — Pattan’s Downtown Grille opened on April 10, 2015 and over the last year and five months, there’s been one constant on the menu — the Pattan Special.
On Tuesday, the restaurant served its 10,000th sandwich, and for owner Tim Pattan, it’s not much of a surprise. He said his operating system keeps a running tally of each item that’s sold, and he noticed a month ago that that number had reached 9,500.
“I told my wife we should do something special,” he said.
John Dayle Speight was the lucky recipient of the milestone smoked pork loin sandwich and got his on the house.
“That sandwich has been the best selling thing on the menu,” said Pattan. “People will come in once a week, and that’s all they ever get. It really is a good sandwich.”
The story of the Pattan Special began in 2010 when Pattan was in a cooking competition in Greenwood, South Carolina. At the last minute he entered a sandwich in an ancillary contest but didn’t think it would win.
“At the awards, I was hoping for a 7-10th place finish,” he said on a Facebook post commemorating the milestone. “They got to 5th place, and I hadn’t heard my name called. I was feeling bummed. Got down to second and still not me. Called the winner, and it was me. I was shocked. Great finish to a last-second idea.”
What could potentially be up next to hit the 10,000 number will be the restaurant’s pulled pork tacos. Pattan said it has grown in popularity and the southern-Mexican fusion dish even has its own Facebook page.
“The tacos have almost eclipsed the special,” Pattan said.
It took the Pattan Special 17 months to reach 10,000, but since the end of December — or only 9½ months — the number of tacos ordered has already made it to 4,300. The owner said it’s only been a menu item for just over a month.
Milestones aside, however, Pattan is happy to see that his dishes have been well received and well ordered since the restaurant’s inception last year.
“All of this amazes me, the popularity of some of the dishes,” he said. “I didn’t really think too much about it, but you hope to be successful.”
Reach reporter Matt Harrelson at 910-817-2674 and follow him on Twitter @mattyharrelson.