Would you like a hug with your order?

Have you ever ordered lunch and got a side order of hugs? I hadn’t until today.
I had the great pleasure to meet a friend for lunch at Ivey’s in Madison, Alabama (suburb of Huntsville). I’ve heard alot about Ivey’s however this was my first chance to dine with them.
Ivey’s specializes in home cooked-southern foods. Chicken, pork chops, roast, it’s all great. Their desserts are awesome too. But, what makes Ivey’s so special is owner/manager Ms. Swanner.
I noticed Ms. Swanner soon after we had taken our seat. She was wearing a red apron and giving patrons a small bowl of her homemade banana pudding with a little something extra, a hug. Each person in the restaurant didn’t have a choice, they had to take a sampling and they had to give her a hug. She finally made her way over to our table where she introduced herself to me and expressed her appreciation for me dining at Ivey’s. Not only that, she made me get out of my seat and give her a hug.
After eating a great pork chop, green beans and cole slaw I was stuffed and decided to pass on dessert. That was until Ms. Swanner made her rounds again and changed my mind. As she put it, “If you’re not gonna order dessert then you at least have to have a few bites.” Ms. Swanner brought me a more than a few bites of her banana pudding.
What was meant to be a half-hour lunch meeting turned into an hour and a half. My friend and I couldn’t escape the presence of this great lady. We went into Ivey’s expecting great food and left with the feeling that we had been in the presence of an angel.

Now, is there any wonder why Ivey’s Restaurant is doing so well? Is there any wonder why people stop by Ivey’s on their way home just to see Ms. Swanner?
For all of you “Fred Factor” fans, Ms. Swanner is definitely a Fred.
Oh yeah, one other thing…as I was leaving Ms. Swanner poked her head out the door and asked “Jim, are you going home, cause if you are, take some of this banana pudding to your kids.” Wow, not only did she remember my name but remembered me telling her about my kids.

1 Response to “Would you like a hug with your order?”


  1. 1 Mark Sanborn February 2, 2007 at 2:02 am

    What a great story! I agree: Ms. Swanner is certainly a “Fred.” Thanks for sharing it, Jim.


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