Inside the BBQ joint owned by Oprah's niece

Not many local restaurants can say Oprah Winfrey is a customer - but Pat's Rib Place in Waukesha can boast just that.

Oprah was at the eatery, located at 151 E. Sunset Dr., last month for her birthday. Oprah Instagramed pictures of her visit.

Oprah's niece owns Pat's Rib Place with her husband Tydus. Alisha says Oprah did not veer from her diet. She remembers,  "It was a challenge. She did have the fried okra, but she was sticking to her points. She was very focused on her points. It was a lot of temptation before her, but she was very focused and she looks great. I'm proud of her."

Pat's Rib Place is named after Alisha's late mom and Oprah's sister. Alisha admits she owes much of her success to the ladies before her.

"There is a part of me that is a lot like my grandmother, as well as my mom and of course my aunt. They have really had a great impact in my life, they are the reason I am the person I am right now."

Alisha says she learned that anything is possible. "I did grow up with a speech impediment that was really severe, but I never let it hinder me from doing anything at all."

The day TODAY'S TMJ4 visited, Alisha's grandmother and Oprah's mom, 80 year old Vernita Lee, showed up.  Lee said she is proud of her granddaughter. Vernita's favorite food at Pat's is catfish and the fried okra.

Alisha says she learned a lot about cooking from her grandmother. But Vernita admits, "I am a great cook but I don't like to cook anymore!"

Vernita takes pride that the Hayes are positive role models. Co-owner Tydus Hayes exclaims, "We love participating in the community, giving back mentoring young kids, letting them know you can do more than just the limited goals you set for yourself."

Robert Colletta is a student at Carroll University. He eats at Pat's Rib Place every week. Colletta asserts, "This is the best barbecue I've ever had!"

The Hayes' say running a small business as a couple is all about respect. Tydus never stopped cleaning and cooking the entire time TODAY'S TMJ4 filmed. He maintains, "It's just keeping our communication open, letting each other know what each other's triggers are and trying not to step on each other's toes."

At Pat's Rib Place you can order a variety of home-cooked dinners with sides. But there is more than just food on the menu - behind the small business is a hard working couple cooking up a recipe for success. 

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