‘If Honey Boo Boo can do it, why can’t we?’
Local restaurant owners pushing for their own reality TV show

By Kevin Passon - Special to The Freeman

March 13, 2014

Tydus Hayes slices ribs for another meal to be served at Pat’s Rib Place in Waukesha. He and his wife, Alisha, are promoting the idea of turning their restaurant adventures into a reality TV show.
Kevin Passon/Special to The Freeman

WAUKESHA - Alisha Hayes’ infectious smile and laugh greet customers when they walk through the door, and the tasty food will bring you back time and time again. It’s the bar atmosphere of “Cheers” but in a restaurant setting.

Hayes and her husband, Tydus, believe it’s such a good story, they’re pitching it to several television networks in hopes of making it a reality TV show.

“It’s being promoted through some associates of ours in California,” Alisha Hayes said. “We just thought it would be fun to do.”

The married couple owns and operates Pat’s Rib Place on East Sunset Drive in Waukesha.

Alisha Hayes is the niece of Oprah Winfrey, but she isn’t asking her famous relative for any help in getting her idea off the ground.

Alisha Hayes takes a phone order for food at Pat’s Rib Place in Waukesha. She and her husband, Tydus, are promoting the idea of turning their restaurant adventures into a reality TV show.
Kevin Passon/Special to The Freeman

“I didn’t go to her for help when we opened the restaurant five years ago,” Hayes said. “I think she would appreciate me and my work more if I didn’t rely on her. Her network will get the pitch just like the other ones.”

Tydus and Alisha Hayes believe the reality show could serve several purposes. Publicity for their business is the obvious one, but a reality show based in Waukesha will benefit the community, too. And the two could be seen as role models for business entrepreneurs and families.

“I figured it would be positive for the business and good for Waukesha,” Tydus Hayes said. “It would also show a positive side of marriage and business, and we could be seen as role models for younger kids.”

Alisha Hayes said reality shows don’t often portray African-Americans or the sanctity of marriage in a positive way.

“Ty, as a black male, would be a good influence for black youths in the Milwaukee area,” Alisha Hayes said. “It would also be inspiring for others who want to open a business.”

Alisha Hayes is a fan of reality shows, particularly those dealing with food and restaurants; “Kitchen Impossible” and “Kitchen Nightmares” are among her favorites. She also enjoys “Housewives” and “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”

Tydus and Alisha Hayes, owners of Pat’s Rib Place in Waukesha, want to take their restaurant operation adventures to TV. They are actively promoting the idea of making a reality TV show based on the challenges and rewards of running the business.
Kevin Passon/Special to The Freeman

“If Honey Boo Boo can do it, why can’t we?” she said, recalling when she and her husband first started considering the idea.

Alisha Hayes sees the show centering on the trials and tribulations of running a business, as well as the interaction with customers. She understands every episode needs some conflict - after all, that’s what reality shows thrive on - but she wants every show to end on a happy note, where everything works out right in the end.

“Conflict but a good resolution,” she said, summing up what she would like to see.

She said the biggest challenge is never knowing what each day will bring, but the biggest reward is the interaction with customers.

“Sometimes you can really make someone’s day just by asking how they’re doing,” she said. “I came from a background in social services, and I thought that with the restaurant, I might lose out on talking to people like I used to. But, I talk to people just as much, if not more, now.”

Pat’s Rib Place on East Sunset Drive in Waukesha could be the home of a new reality TV show if owners Tydus and Alisha Hayes can convince network officials to bite on the idea. 
Kevin Passon/Special to The Freeman

Pat’s Rib Place opened in 2009, just as the economy was about to plunge into the recession.

“The first day was the scariest,” Alisha Hayes said. “We thought the restaurant was a good idea, but would the community? It took a whole lot of praying.”

The restaurant is named after Alisha Hayes’ mother, Patricia Lloyd. Good Southern hospitality is practiced daily by every employee, and every customer is treated like a guest in their home.

Ribs and pulled pork are the obvious specialties, but the menu also features catfish, cod and perch; barbecued wings and beef; chicken; unique side items such as sweet potato waffle fries, fried pickles, and mac and cheese bites; and desserts.

And, you never know who you might run into there. After all, Winfrey has stopped in before, completely unannounced. You just know any network that airs the show will try to get that to happen again.