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She liked to take credit for the birth of the hickory house on account of her charm and good looks. The way she told it, the president of the bank where she worked as a college student in capitol hill told her they needed to make some loans and wondered what kind of businesses were needed.

"I told him we needed a barbecue joint, and I was the one to do it," she once told me. "And he was a little sweet on me, so we got the loan."

The hickory house opened soon thereafter in 1949. The red-dirt colored, two-story building still stands on the northeast corner at SW 25 and western.

"We opened with money in the register and our inventory, that’s it,” levita anderson said. "We served three generations of customers in that building.”

A hickory house ad from june 1952 reads: "john, levita & john jr.


Invite you to take home a feast for 2.” the feast included a pound of ribs, a half-pint of beans, potato salad or slaw and sauce for $1.70 — prepared while you wait.Corner western

John jr. Would grow up to be called skip, but found his calling writing about sports rather than burning hickory wood. The hickory house stayed open another three and a half decades and help raise local barbecue standards. But the culinary world owes hickory house a debt of gratitude for preparing levita’s youngest son, rick, to become one of the country’s most important chefs.

Once she closed hickory house in 1986, levita spent some time in chicago helping rick and his wife, deann, open their first restaurant. You might’ve heard of it? Frontera grill? It’s still open today and is the founding concept in bayless’ culinary empire. You’ve probably seen frontera foods products in the grocery store.

Levita took up golf at age 50 and quickly became proficient, draining three aces in her career. Members of the greens country club will find her name listed on club tournament leader boards in the 1990s.

As previously mentioned, skip bayless liked sports and writing.Hickory house he won a prestigious writing award his senior year at northwest classen that led to a full ride at vanderbilt. He wrote for years in the dallas market, concentrating on the dallas cowboys, and has worked all over the country. He’s been a fixture on sports television since 2004, currently co-hosting "skip and shannon undisputed" on foxsports1.

LuAnn tucker, who is a cancer survivor, became a national board-certified teacher concentrating on special-education. Just as her brothers have shown propensity for achievement, luann was named teacher of the year at edmond santa fe high school in 2007.

Rick bayless was still about 18 months from birth when you could get that feast for two for a buck-seventy. Though it opened before he was born, he would grow up to draw the most from it among his siblings. He is quick to point out how he had to protect his school clothes from the smell of hickory that permeated any and all who spent time in the hickory house.Hickory house

A small price to pay for free culinary school. Despite a notion to become an academic, rick eventually would fuse his passion for mexican culture with the cooking know-how he developed working for his mom and become the host of PBS’s "mexico: one plate at a time," the author of eight books and eight restaurant concepts.

In 10 years as a dude writing about food, I count an afternoon spent with levita and andy as one of my most cherished memories. I left that interview feeling I’d finally met a real superhero. Proud of her children, and virtually unaware of how much the rest of us could learn from her, levita was the embodiment of grace and humility.

The memories she made for untold masses at the hickory house would be enough legacy for most, but the achievements of her children and the adversity she overcame to reach her accomplishments are truly something to behold.

Levita was preceded in death by andy, who passed away in 2013. She leaves behind her three children, a son-in-law (mike tucker) and a daughter-in-law (deann bayless).Levita anderson

For those of us with vacation-like jobs, actual vacations are rare. It’s the tax you pay. I spent last week in durango, colorado, visiting my daughter, kate, and, of course, the food world would have none of it.

Sean cummings restaurant and bar means st. Patrick’s day is back on in oklahoma city. The old sean cummings irish pub was always quick with a black-and-tan and never home to a green beer. We’ll be a better market for having that spirit back. He and his wife, cathy, own vito’s ristorante and bacon across the street from the new space at 7628 N may ave.

Cummings almost rekindled his eponymous concept several times in the past few years, coming to at least two agreements I know of before the deals ultimately fell through.

Steve lackmeyer shared the details last week, but the short version is this: chef andy nguyen’s poke bowls and sushi burritos are a smash in los angeles. Project poke, home of the sushi doughnut, caught the attention of local rap artist jabee williams while he was on the west coast.Corner western the two hit it off, and now oklahoma city will go from having zero poke restaurants to three by year’s end.

East side poke project joins two poke concepts in development in uptown. Okie pokie, which takes over the downstairs space in the former guernsey park, opens later this month. Chef penny davidi, of california, will open oki poke in a long empty space at 1520 NW 23. Construction is underway.

Also learned kwan’s kitchen got opened despite some nasty weather getting in the way of their soft opening plans. The ostentatious and ambitious asian concept is open daily at 11 a.M. It closes at 10 p.M. Except on friday and saturday, when it closes at 11.

It looks like the new hatch early mood food in the chisholm creek development will open its doors next week. Umbrella company provision concepts will have a strong presence in chisholm creek with three stores. Provision already has an operating sidecar barley & wine bar there and will add birra birra pizzeria after it gets the second hatch opened.Levita anderson provision concepts also purchased west from rick and david haynes last october.

Deep deuce’s slaughter’s hall closed its doors on sunday, but it will reopen as a gourmet taqueria and cantina called besos de mezcal. Oklahoma city hasn’t had a mezcal bar since the short life of tamazul, hopefully this one will do better. …

And finally, nonesuch welcomes home chef rob drennan for a guest chef dinner on march 28. Drennan grew up in edmond before setting off to cook his way around the world, starting down in austin, texas, at the renowned sister restaurants uchi and uchiko. He was also sous chef at qui before landing a gig as research and development chef at 3-star michelin maaemo restaurant in norway. The 12-course collaboration will offer a spring menu with wine pairings. Cost is $90, and tickets are available online at www.Exploretock.Com/nonesuch, choose march 28 on the calendar.

Close your browser does not support iframes. Skip bayless levita anderson dances with son rick bayless at her 80th birthday party, held 11 years ago at the metro wine bar and bistro. [photo provided] john and levita bayless opened the hickory house, corner of SW 25 and western, in 1949. [photo provided]

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The hickory house was owned by the bayless family for 37 years. [photo provided by rick bayless] the hickory house was on the northeast corner of SW 25 and western avenue, owned by levita anderson from 1949 to 1986. [photo provided]