When the COVID-19 pandemic began, many immediately began thinking of ways to protect and support their family and loved ones. Jay Jordan, owner of Caruso’s Sandwiches and Artisan Pizza was no different.
“The GU community is pretty powerful; they had my back during [the pandemic] so I have to return the favor,” Jordan said.
Located at 1120 N. Division St. directly across from Kennedy Apartments, Caruso’s has been serving hungry Zags for nearly six years. Even before Caruso’s officially opened its U-District location, Jordan was enamored by the sense of community emanating from Gonzaga’s nearby campus. “I just fell in love with it. I could see the GU community from outside, I knew what was happening in the U-District, and my family really wanted to be a part of it,” Jordan said.
Since then, Jordan made it his mission to become a helping hand to the school. From partnering with clubs on campus for fundraising events, to delivering hot and ready meals to traveling student athletes, Caruso’s is ready to provide a helping hand where needed. That included providing a meal to student-athletes on Christmas morning.
Having been a college athlete himself, Jordan knows what it's like to finish practice and meal. When student athletes come in and call me by my name, it tells me they appreciate what I do for them,” Jordan said.
Like countless other restaurants during the pandemic, Caruso’s had to navigate the ever- changing COVID-19 guidelines, fundamentally altering the way Jordan ran his business, including shutting one of his locations. “We had a really tough year in this industry. I don’t know what it would have been like without the relationships that we’ve established, but we are in very good shape,” said Jordan. “I’ve tried really hard to care for, value and honor the relationship [between us] and GU, and it's come back tenfold. We have had a lot of support from the administration, student body and athletics these past 18 months.”
From making changes to the pollo pasta inspired by suggestions by athletes like Nigel William-Goss, to delivering food to Zags who weren’t able to go home during the holidays, Jordan and Caruso’s have become cornerstones of the GU community.
“Knowing that students, and staff have a choice of going to other restaurants, but still choose us is pretty gratifying,” Jordan said. “I’m very grateful.”