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Deceased restaurant owner gives back to customers

Thursday, December 10, 2009

One of Houston's biggest names in barbeque is being remembered by giving back to his customers.

Gus Demeris died Thursday morning. His name is famous for good barbeque in Houston. And he said 'Thank You' to Houstonians by picking up the tab.

"My father passed away about 9:30 this morning," said Yonny Demeris.

Hours later, Yonny Demeris, son of Gus Demeris, was at work at Demeris Barbeque.

"This was his home, every day" said Yonny. "Every day in here at 8 o'clock in the morning, and here all day long."

Gus was born in a small town in Greece, and moved to Houston 60 plus years ago. He worked at the old Steve's Barbeque downtown and then started his own business in the mid 1960's.

Today, Demeris Barbeque is popular around town, feeding Houstonians by the hundreds every day. So Gus wanted to give back to the folks who gave to him -- free food Thursday, all day long.

"He said, 'I want you to feed everyone for free.' And I said, 'Dad, you got it. That's what I'll do for you. If that's what you want, that's what I'm going to do,'" said Yonny.

And even on the day he died, those who knew and loved Gus came to the place he loved for a bite, and some memories, too.

"One of his best friends is sitting right there," said Yonny.

So the Demeris family, as directed by Gus, was paying for meals at all three Demeris locations until closing Thursday night, or until they ran out of food.

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