ELLSWORTH, Maine — Whether you came to get a steaming, tasty hot dog smothered in onions, mustard and relish, or a cooling ice cream cone, Jordan’s Snack Bar on Route 1 just north of downtown has been for decades a quintessential part of many people’s summers.
Quietly minding the store, working hard every day, was owner James “Jimmy” Jordan, who founded the drive-in more than 25 years ago.
Jordan died Friday at age 64, apparently from a heart attack.
“He hired nearly every high school kid in the Ellsworth area over the years, including me,” Heather Fowler, a member of the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce board of directors, said Saturday. She said one would be hard pressed to find a person in Ellsworth who didn’t know Jordan either as a boss or through his food.
“This is an enormous loss for our entire community, not just the business community,” Fowler said. “He was my first boss, as he was for a lot of high school kids, and he taught us all what a work ethic was. He worked incredibly hard.”
Fowler said Jordan and his wife, Carol, were quiet givers but supported many community causes.
“He never said no. He was a huge contributor to the Shriners, to the schools, to anyone who asked,” she said.
The restaurant began as a drive-in and expanded to include an indoor dining area. Wednesday night car shows, called “cruise-ins,” and other special events became popular at Jordan’s and draw large crowds.
Jordan’s opening day each year is a clear indication to residents that spring has arrived, and long lines quickly form at the takeout windows.
Employees kept the popular restaurant open this weekend, but it will close for a few days next week for Jordan’s funeral services. Arrangements have not been announced.