Testimony to Answered Prayers
There never would have been a Joseph’s Storehouse and Bakery if Patrick McCurdy hadn’t fallen on tough times. Really tough times. McCurdy, a preacher for some 20 years, switched from the Baptist Convention to become a nondenominational Christian in the early 1990s. “But when I did that, I didn’t have any money,” he recalls. His grandfather had been a very successful restaurateur in Dallas and a great baker to boot. So when McCurdy and his then wife, Michele, needed to do something to make money, they began baking bread at home and selling it to friends and neighbors. The business began to grow, so in 1993 they rented space at what is now Joseph’s Storehouse at 3420 N. St. Mary’s St. It was truly a hand-to-mouth operation in those early days, McCurdy recalls. His wife’s family bankrolled the operation, but as he would tell you today, the business was greatly undercapitalized. “We only had baked goods until one day a guy walked in and asked what we were serving for lunch. We’d never served lunch. But that morning my wife had made Salisbury steak for our meal, and I told the guy we had Salisbury steak.
“He said OK. Michele ran to the back, heated it up, and we served our lunch to him. He loved it. Loved it so much that he said he’d be back tomorrow with all of his office staff. The next morning we brought in all of our dishes, pots and pans from home so we could cook and serve meals. True story,” says McCurdy. Recipes for all of their menu items came from potluck suppers he used to have at his old church. “Michele used to collect the recipes, and it’s the comfort food people still love today,” he explains. “That’s how our lunch business began. There was an old used stove in back that we cooked on. But it really was on its last legs. I’d kept it going with prayer,” he says. But more than prayer was needed. It was time for a new stove. Problem was they didn’t have the money to buy a new one. Perhaps God does provide to those in need because the day the stove died McCurdy won $5,000 on radio station KJ97 by correctly guessing the names of three Alan Jackson songs. That was in 1996 or 1997, to the best of his memory. And with the cash he bought a commercial stove.
For 10 years McCurdy came to work at midnight to bake the next morning’s delicacies. And then he worked in the front of the bakery until 7 p.m. or so. Six days a week. Today he takes some Saturdays off. And he no longer comes in at midnight to bake. “I’ve got a great staff,” he says. “So I can take some time off.” On Sundays McCurdy leads a nondenominational Christian service in the restaurant. It is open to one and all — rich or poor, needy or not. McCurdy, who will turn 61 in September, looks to be 45 or 50 at most. He’s a runner who stays in great shape. “I’ve run all my life,” he says. He’s run marathons and recently completed a triathlon. He still runs 20 to 30 miles a week. And that doesn’t count how much he runs in the restaurant, taking orders, busing tables, delivering food. And speaking of running, McCurdy ran for mayor of San Antonio in 2007, saying God called him to run. He says it was a great experience. “I only got 8 percent of the vote, but Roddy Stinson (former Express-News columnist) said it would be a miracle if I got 2 percent,” he laughs. He’s not done with politics yet. “I enjoy making a difference. So, maybe my politics will be my next career.”
It’s hard to imagine a frown on his face. “I’ve had some hard knocks,” he says, “but they helped me to listen to others, to different opinions. I used to think I knew everything. But my life began to fall apart. My divorce, my kids not living with me.” It was a dark time for McCurdy. He’s been divorced for 13 years after having been married for 27 years. But he acknowledges with a smile that he and his ex-wife are seeing each other: “She’s single again. And I never remarried. So who knows what will happen?”
It’s clear what he’d like to see happen.
He and Michele have five kids, three boys and two girls. The youngest is still in high school and now lives with McCurdy. The others are pursuing professional careers. His commitment to God and religion permeates the bakery. But he doesn’t proselytize, he simply shares his deep religious convictions with those who want to listen. When folks ask him if he “owns” Joseph’s Storehouse and Bakery, he responds, “No, I’m a steward of this restaurant. There were many times we thought we’d have to close.” But clearly God does provide. As we walked to the front of Joseph’s, McCurdy told me, “Business has never been better. Never! You know why? Because the city closed Hildebrand to some traffic, and it’s forcing folks to drive right by my bakery. I hope it’s not selfish to wish the construction lasts for a long, long time.”