A History of Metoyer’s BBQ

Metoyer's BBQ, 2307 North 24th Street, North Omaha, Nebraska

North 24th Street has been home to many Black-owned businesses through the years. Some of them have come and gone quickly; others have lasted decades and left memories long after they’re gone. One of the latter was a 35-year-old BBQ joint. This is a history of Metoyer’s BBQ.

Goode and Metoyer Bar-b-que was located at 2311 1/2 North 24th Street, North Omaha, Nebraska
The Goode and Metoyer Bar-b-que was located at 2311 1/2 North 24th Street, as shown in this 1960 ad from the Omaha Star.

In the 1930s, Victor Metoyer (1899-1986) and Rosalie Metoyer (1905-1967) moved from Louisiana to Omaha. In 1958, Victor joined with Alton Goode (1897-1986) to open a barbecue restaurant at 2311 1/2 North 24th Street, located near clubs and dancehalls and in the center of North Omaha’s African American community. Focused their own “special sauce” from the Cain River region of Texas, the pair made bar-b-que together through 1966. They served KC-style ribs, brisket and chicken, made their own sausage, and more. The family’s secret recipe for Louisiana gumbo was rumored to have come down from more than a century before.

After 1966, the business was completely family-run, with four generations involved over the years.

Metoyer's Bar-B-Q, 2307 N. 24th St., North Omaha, Nebraska
This is the signage from Metoyer’s Bar-B-Q in 1981.

In 1979, tragedy struck the restaurant and all of North Omaha when Raymond F. Metoyer (1928-1979) was shot and killed while working. In 1980, a 25-year-old woman named Gail Watkins (1954-2010) pleaded guilty to manslaughter. His son, Ray Metoyer, took over the restaurant then.

Another terrible incident happened in 1981 when a car drove through the front of the restaurant. Apparently the car was speeding along North 24th around 11pm on an April night when the driver lost control and smashed rear-end first into the restaurant. There were three employees but no customers in the restaurant when the car hit.

Metoyer's Bar-B-Q, 2307 N. 24th St.,. North Omaha, Nebraska
This is a 1985 ad for Metoyer’s Bar-B-Q at 2307 N. 24th St. The restaurant was closed that year.

In 1985, Ray moved to Denver. Intending to keep Metoyer’s going, he told the Omaha World-Herald the family was thinking about expanding the operation with more locations. However, it was not to be, and that year the restaurant closed permanently.

Today, there is no historical plaque or other commemoration of this longtime institution in North Omaha. An institution for Omaha’s Black community from 1958 to 1985, there are many memories of the joint today, but not much more.

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BONUS

Historic BBQs in North Omaha
North O has been home to dozens of barbecue joints over the last 125 years. They’ve included Bill Harper, the Slaughter Bar-B-Q Hut, Goode and Metoyer Bar-B-Que, Cleo’s Nite & Day Bar-B-Q, Young & Kellogg’s, Skeet’s, Mildred’s Sandwich Shop, and Metoyer’s Bar-B-Q, among many others.

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