Son Keeps Mother's Memory Alive With OKC Restaurant

Tuesday, January 12th 2021, 6:28 pm


If you’re looking for the recipes that make George’s Happy Hog Bar-B-Q a top OKC spot, well, owner Stephen Ivory can’t tell you that, but there is one intangible ingredient he can share. 

“Love, love. Love in all the ribs and all the meat," said Ivory, owner of George’s Happy Hog Bar-B-Q.

And for the past eight years, that’s exactly what co-owner Debra Ivory put into her food and showed her customers. 

Gregarious and never without a smile, she was an OKC icon. 

Mrs. Ivory, Stephen’s mother, passed away in December from COVID-19. George’s closed its door for three weeks. 

“It was hard, it was hard, but I made it through. I was real strong, staying strong still," Ivory said.

Stephen did consider not reopening the restaurant, but he said, in the end, it came down to the thought that this is what his mother would want him to do. 

“Me and mom started this together, so I know she would want me to finish it,” he said 

George’s reopened a week ago. 

Stephen is more than cut out to run the business, but when it comes to matching his mother’s larger than life personality he said:

“Those are hard shoes to fill. I’m gonna try my best to fill them my way. But man, those are some hard shoes to fill.” 

And while Stephen admits he has a lot on his plate now, if the days get long and the work piles up, he just remembers his inspiration. 

“Trying to make my mom proud. Yep.” 


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