With her bright eyes and a plastered-on smile, Debra Ivory – the owner and operator of George’s Happy Hog Bar-B-Q – always made anyone and everyone feel like they belonged there, that there’s a plate with their name on it and there’s always room for sweet potato pie and an extra glass of tea.
Sadly, Ivory passed on from Covid-19 this week, her beloved restaurant closed as the family and friends remember the woman who ran the Happy Hog quite fondly.
“Debbie’s is a third generation of George’s,” Buckner said.
An entrepreneur, Ivory took over the George’s name about 12 years ago, opening Happy Hog Barbeque.
“She said, ‘I’m going to make cakes and pads, I said, ‘OK, what else?’ She says, ‘I’m going to make potato salad, we’re going to peel potatoes and we’re going to make it like mom used to,’” Buckner said.
Good food along with Ivory’s infectious smile and personality made this Black-owned restaurant a success.
I reviewed her place the first time I ever went there with my gal-pal Jodie, instantly falling in love with the likable food and, of course, the lovable staff. It was always a place that, when friends and strangers alike wanted some of the best barbeque in Oklahoma City, I always took them there and loaded up their plates, no questions asked.
And while George’s might be closed for now, it’ll open back up soon. When it does, stop in and pay your respects by loading up on a Happy Hog Rib Dinner, a Bold Brisket Dinner or, heck, a 3 Meat Combo Dinner like I will, tipping your cup to pay respect to the woman who owned one of the best-damned barbeque restaurants in Oklahoma City.
If you have any remembrances, please post them below.
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