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Blind pizzeria owner draws acclaim for 'Old Forge' style pizza at Twisted Tomato

Jordan Thomas becomes inspiration to many others
Posted at 6:27 PM, Aug 18, 2023

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — There is a heartwarming update to the story we recently told you of a pizza restaurant run by a blind chef.

In June, WPTV anchor Ashleigh Walters and photojournalist Alex Hagan reported on Jordan Thomas and his family-run pizza shop The Twisted Tomato.

The Twisted Tomato restaurant in the Delray Beach strip mall has received a growing fan base for its “Old Forge” style pizza. Like the family, the pizza is an original out of Pennsylvania. The shop has fulfilled Thomas’ lifelong dream of owning a restaurant, and it’s become an inspiration to many others.

Thomas went blind 10 years ago after a tumor crushed his optic nerve. He has been donating a dollar of every sold pizza split between the American Foundation of the Blind and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Thomas said the story spread across the country and the response has been incredible. The restaurant has gotten busier with each passing week. There are now people who consider themselves regulars. Large groups of people have celebrated in the restaurant after hearing the story.

Thomas has learned supporters have made donations to the charitities on his behalf, including people he hasn’t seen since childhood.

“I’ve had career camp counselors I haven’t seen from when I was 13 sending me checks, donations, asking us if there was anything that I needed,” he said.

He’s had people travel to the restaurant from other states offering support.

“I think it’s amazing when you get someone who saw your news from Texas and they’re like, hey, I want to order a pizza and will you ship it to me? And we are,” he said.

Thomas is now sending pizza on dry ice to all 50 states. You can order the pizza on hiswebsite.

“After what I went through. What you guys did and airing that story, letting me tell it is the reason why we’re busy. And I’m grateful for that. And the people that come in, they’re very supportive, and they want to support that cause,” Thomas said.

Thomas is sharing the gracious gifts he’s been offered yet again. He said he is now employing his first person with visual impairment, which he hopes will be the first of many.

“I’ve been in that position and I know what it feels like for them to tell you that you can’t do and that you can’t do the job that someone else can do and that’s not right,” Thomas said.

Drew Merritt has a visual impairment. He is being trained as the new employee.

Drew Merritt, who is visual impaired, is in his  second week of employment at The Twisted Tomato.
Drew Merritt, who is visual impaired, is in his second week of employment at The Twisted Tomato.

“I’ve been treated really good. Like royalty. You can’t beat it, man. You just can’t,” Merritt said.

Merritt is receiving training through Susan Scaperotto, a career resource specialist with Work Opportunities Unlimited.

Merritt is only in his second week of employment at The Twisted Tomato, but he’s learning to fold pizza boxes, polish silverware, and clean menus.

Merritt is excited to be dedicated to his new job and the team at the restaurant. He was thrilled to learn about the story of his new boss.

“Oh, he’s amazing. I mean, this is a great place, I was like, wow,” Merritt said.

Thomas wants others around him to feel valued.

Scaperotto said, “It’s definitely all about the managers and being in a supportive environment and giving someone a chance. And it might take Drew a little bit longer to fold this pizza box but once he has it he’ll have it forever and he’ll have it forever and he’ll be really quick at it. It’s just about finding the right job match for everybody.”

Thomas is grateful for the gifts he’s received through loved ones and complete strangers.
“We’ll be making pizza together in no time,” Thomas told Merritt.