Tim Pattan of Pattan’s Downtown Grille, has been around barbecue for as long as he can remember. While growing up, he remembers his dad preparing a pig picking once a year. Opening his own “BBQ joint” in April of 2014, has been 16 years in the making, with Pattan “chasing the memory” of his dad’s barbecues.
It all began with the sauce, Pee Dee River Swamp Sauce that is. When Pattan and his wife, Julia, were first married, they made a deal; Pattan would do the cooking and Julia would wash the dishes. He grilled quite often and carried on the family tradition with his own pig picking. Pattan was never satisfied with the BBQ sauces he purchased from stores so he experimented, developing his own recipe. That was 14 years ago, and from there, he has sold his sauce to retail outlets, averaging about 400 stores, mostly local, independent stores.
Pattan began going to BBQ competitions, outperforming many of his competitors. One of these competitions involved the Food Network and concluded with him taking first place. This was the beginning of his signature dish, the Pattan Special. You can even find it on the menu today!
Pattan believes barbecue is a simple, down-home food. His business is called downtown for a reason. To him, the word downtown infers homey and satisfying. From BBQ, wings, tenderloin, and hamburgers, to collards, corn salad, homemade chips, strawberry cheesecake, and peach cobbler, the personal attention Pattan gives to choosing fresh ingredients is evident. The ground beef for the delicious hamburgers is bought daily, never frozen. Potatoes for the low country boil are chosen carefully at a local produce market, as well as berries for the strawberry cheesecake. The corn for the corn salad is picked fresh.
The service at Pattan’s is also to be commended. The hostesses are welcoming and the servers are attentive and friendly. It doesn’t take long for one to feel like he or she is among family. The staff contributes greatly to the family atmosphere. Anthony Kubiak, one of the servers who recently moved to Greensboro to attend The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, continues to work at Pattan’s when he comes home to visit. When asked why he responds, “we’re like family here!”
Pattan’s pride in his hometown is evident, photographs lining the walls lending local flavor to the restaurant’s décor. He likes when customers discuss the photographs of local points of interest, and hopes visitors to the county will return again and again and that they will tell others about his restaurant. What does Pattan like best about owning and operating his restaurant in Richmond County?
“It’s fun to see people you know, people you grew up with, and people who have moved into the county and are now your neighbors.” Being part of the community makes him feel good. It makes him “feel connected” to his hometown.
Go to Pattan’s and enjoy the aroma and taste of freshly-cooked food, great service, and a down home feeling. While you’re at it, strike up a conversation with Tim Pattan, that is, if he’s not too busy at the grill!
Pattan’s Downtown Grille is located at 228 A East Washington Street, Rockingham, North Carolina, and is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday.