Robert Patterson: Sticky Fingers for DU

Robert Patterson at the SEWE 2018 Oyster Roast.

Robert Patterson at the SEWE 2018 Oyster Roast.

Photo © Andi Cooper, DU

Robert Patterson is an energetic guy with a quick smile and a dedication to supporting Ducks Unlimited’s waterfowl habitat mission. Through his Sticky Fingers restaurants and Top Shelf Catering company, Robert supports local DU events with rock bottom catering costs and tremendous service.

“My Eagle Scout project was building wood duck boxes,” he explained. “I’ve been involved with DU since I was in high school in Georgia and when I got involved in the food and beverage industry here in Charleston, South Carolina, one of the first things I wanted to do was to team up with DU and provide an awesome food experience at a price that allowed big proceeds to go to the cause.”

Having served DU as an area chairman in Georgia, he understands what the grassroots event committees are trying to accomplish and doesn’t look to make a lot of money on the DU events.

“I understand how important it is for all these attendees to have a great experience so they’ll come back next year, and food is a big part of that,” he said.

Eleven restaurants and two catering companies keep the menu fresh from event to event. The committees decide how much money they have for food and Robert lets them know what options he can provide.

“From a business perspective, this is great exposure within my key customer base. All of these people are going to get married or have a big party or have some other reason for seeking a caterer, and if they have a great meal with short lines at the DU event, maybe they give me a call for that.”

Still, being the area’s go-to caterer isn’t the only way Robert gives back to DU. The boat raffled at Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE) this year was parked in front of his Charleston Sticky Fingers location for promotion several months leading up to the event. Local DU committees hold their planning meetings in private rooms at his restaurants, free of charge. He donates a meal to be auctioned at each DU event, providing a cookout for the winning bidder.

Robert, a Diamond Life Sponsor, also spends money at DU events.

“There’s no telling how much money I’ve spent on raffle tickets at these events,” he said with a laugh.

In addition to catering one of DU’s largest events in the country, the East Cooper chapter’s oyster roast in conjunction with SEWE, Robert provides the food for Summerville, the Citadel, Berkley County, Waccamaw, Columbia, Hampton, Jasper County and Clemson chapters.

Sticky Fingers sponsors Shucking on the Yorktown, – the only oyster roast held on the U.S.S. Yorktown in Charleston Harbor, and he brought DU on board as the benefiting organization five years ago.

“I can’t even tell you what Robert means to my region,” said Regional Director James Meadows. “His support of Ducks Unlimited in eastern South Carolina is like no other. He and his staff always go beyond the extra mile to make sure everyone at each event has the best DU experience possible. Not only do they take care of event attendees, they always make sure the volunteers are fed, too. Being a volunteer himself, Robert knows how busy banquet nights can be and how easy it is to get caught up in the event and never have a chance to eat. I never have to worry when a chapter tells me they have Robert booked. When they tell me that, I am done asking questions about their food plans.”

As further evidence of his warm heart and willingness to help, Robert’s Charleston location of Sticky Fingers was one of the only restaurants open during the January snow storm. First responders were immensely thankful for the warm, hearty meals he and his staff provided.