Waukesha BBQ restaurant earns national attention thanks to Oprah Winfrey's magazine mention

NOW: Waukesha BBQ restaurant earns national attention thanks to Oprah Winfrey’s magazine mention

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Alisha and Tydus Hayes know most of their customers by name. It’s something they say they’re proud of and something, for which, they are grateful.

And you can tell just by looking at the walls of Pat’s Rib Place. Everyone, here, is family.

“A lot of people, particularly in the area, they’ve seen my kids grow up and I’ve seen their kids grow up,” said Alisha.

Since opening up in 2009, Pat’s Rib has turned into a Waukesha staple. It helped bring Southern-style food and barbecue to the area. And over the years, the place has also become known for its original barbecue sauces.

Tydus is co-owner, executive chef and creator of Pat’s five homemade barbecue sauces. His culinary training is homegrown, too. He says he watched the cooks and grill masters in his and Alisha’s families.  

“Everything that we put in the sauce are ingredients that you can pronounce. Everything is all natural. That’s what does it for me,” he said.

And that’s part of what also “did it” for a television and media legend.  Oprah Winfrey featured “Pat’s House” and “Brown Brown Sauce” in her 2020 Favorite Things List.

“We consider it an honor,” said Alisha.

She added that she and Tydus are thankful for the boost, especially because she is Oprah’s niece. “It’s definitely something that she didn’t have to do but I am glad that she did,” said Alisha.

“Did she tell you guys about this or was it all a surprise?” asked CBS 58’s Kim Shine.

“It was a surprise,” answered Tydus. “We found out through her staff, actually. We later contacted her to make sure that this was real. Definitely, you have to have things in place to be able to be in that position but just the opportunity that she gave us was tremendous.”

The couple, along with their staff, package each order in their restaurant. They sell the sauces in-house, on their website and say it’s now become a top-item on Amazon.

“I think I just sent in 100 cases and it was gone in one day, so yeah, so we're making a lot of sauce up in here. I can tell you that,” Alisha laughed.

Pat’s Rib is open for orders, but there’s been no in-house dining since Governor Evers’ first COVID-19 mandate back in March.

Of course, Alisha and Tydus have repurposed the extra space.

But they’re also looking forward to the sounds of Blues music and making new memories with their customers, face-to-face.

“We do not consider this place as ours, at all. This is the community’s,” said Alisha.

Share this article: