“He really tries to set it up to honor all first responders. When they come in, their pricing is special, they don’t pay what everybody else pays. We make a big deal and we ring the bell when a Captain comes in. My husband does fire, paramedic, EMS, and Captain. To give all of them someplace that they can come to and it’s special and it honors them. They put their lives on the line a lot more than people recognize. And all we see on the news is bad in the police department, but there are a lot of good police officers as well.
My husband grew up in seafood. His family owned Morgan seafood in DC down on the wharf on Georgia Avenue. And he can cook some seafood, but at the end of the day, that’s a lot of work!
We had a few ideas and my husband said well since you bake and you have things that you wanna do we can put that with the subs and just open this together, Captain Jon’s Subs and Bakery!
The name, Captain Jon’s stuck, it was more a tribute to the first responders with all the things that were going on, still having to be on the front line, while everybody else staying in safe places.
When Covid first started we came out and looked at the place and I looked at him and said are you sure you want to do this now? Because nobody can come out. And he said yeah this is the time. Let’s do this now.
And we try to keep our prices Covid friendly because we give a lot more than what we charge for. We pack your sandwiches with a lot of meat! Everything in here is baked homemade. And I’m the only baker right now.
John is just a very happy person. He’s happy to be in here, make the subs, meet the people, and make this more of a home environment. Because with people being separated, and not being able to see their loved ones, some of them had no one to talk to. So we may come in here, we ask them for their names. The more we get to know them, the more we get to know what they want. Like a guy named Seth, he comes in here all the time. And I know he wants the lemon Snapple, a jerk chicken sandwich or pulled pork, and his salt n’ vinegar chips. I like knowing who’s walking through our door. My older son says, our store is like going to your cousin’s house, if you need a break and you tired of being by yourself, you can come in and not just receive your food, but you can get a conversation in. Some people come in, have things on their heart and I just listen to them.
It’s so funny when we first started, I’m like heyyyyy and my husband’s Hey good to see you Like he’s known you for years. And my sisters were talking about us the other day and said y’all act like y’all know these people for years! My sister was here and she said you know them? And I said nah, I’ll get to know them, I’ll get their name in a minute. But my mother was like that too, she would meet people easily. My big sister died three years ago from uterine cancer, She was very friendly. If she was here with me she would’ve known this whole block In the first week, everybody would know her. We come from a loving family anyway, we’re that kind of people. I could imagine the loneliness people were feeling during this pandemic.
It’s building community. So if somebody cares enough to say hey, how you doing, what’s your name, it gives you somebody to talk to. We’re trying to be a safe haven, we’re not a sit-down restaurant, If there’s a child that’s in trouble, being that my husband is a part of the fire department, were trying to direct them to the police or to the fire department here so they can handle whatever situation it is. They know they can come here and talk to somebody.
We also have a pay-it-forward program. Where people come in and they pay for an extra sub I will put their name down and put it up on the wall. Not that long ago, we had people that paid it forward and we sent stuff down to the capital, when the military was there and they said they weren’t feeding them right, we sent food down there. And what helped pay for it.
To bring a community feel, to help those in need, to help out people that get overlooked, and also to honor our first responders. Sometimes they get such a bad rep, they don’t get the response that they should for being such hard workers and putting their lives on the line. It’s not easy to step into a burning building for someone else. You have to have a kind heart to step out and put yourself out like that. You have to have a big heart to do that.
We put God first and that’s why we’re not open on Sundays! When you come in here, you feel the love of Christ when you come in. We can talk about it, but not a lot of people walk it. And when you can come into a place and feel that love, you know God is there. I pray in this place every morning.
I pray, I talk to God. For the most part, I think God is pleased with what we’re doing, He sees that we’re not just running a place for money, we’re looking out for citizens.
The love of God and Somebody loved on us. Both of us come from loving families. Both of us are the youngest of big families. We’ve always been family-oriented, helped raise nieces and nephews, it’s just been us since we’ve been together. I think it’s just the love of God. After you’ve been loved, and you know what it is to need to be loved, it’s not hard to love someone else once that’s fallen on you. “