After a successful football career, Ray returned to his roots in Norman, Oklahoma, and later opened up Ray’s Smokehouse BBQ on September 17, 2008. The building, which used to be an old Pizza Hut, was completely transformed and now includes photos along every wall with football players, coaches, and visitors.
For the first few months, the restaurant was open every day, including holidays, as it slowly evolved. Then one day an ad was placed in the Norman Transcript and BOOM!, there was steady growth after that. Ray says that word of mouth was incredibly important to the growth of the restaurant.
Ray runs the restaurant with his wife, Diane, and his daughter, Kendall, and together they treat every employee and customer like a member of their family. It’s not uncommon to see Ray walking around during the lunch or dinner rush and talking to customers to see how they are enjoying themselves. You might even catch him for an autograph if you’re lucky!
The restaurant is famed for its southern hospitality, family atmosphere, and most importantly, its tasty BBQ. “We do brisket very well,” Ray said. “We do ribs very well. Our motto is a rib so tender, you don’t need teeth!”