Little Pigs Barbecue owner Champ McGee inducted into Restaurant Hall of Fame
Champ McGee, owner of Little Pigs Barbecue in Columbia, has been involved in the restaurant industry for almost 50 years. Many days he has been the first to arrive and the last to leave to prepare his restaurant for thousands of customers. Monday evening, surrounded by his family, he was awarded for his years of hard work. McGee was inducted into the Restaurant Hall of Fame and given the Lifetime Achievement Award. The Greater Columbia Restaurant Association presented McGee and two other recipients with their awards at the annual Hall of Fame Dinner.
McGee said it was a gratifying experience to be chosen as a recipient. “It’s a great honor, because it’s your peers who are inviting you here and inducting you in. People who know how hard the business is, and the daily grind of it,” he said.
His involvement with Little Pigs began back in 1969 when McGee was a young teenager. “I started off as a dishwasher,” he said. He continued to work there until he opened his own restaurant from 1979 to 1987. “Then I came back to Little Pigs and bought into it.” McGee became the new owner in 2002, and continues to run the restaurant today.
When thinking back to his first years as an employee, he said he never would have thought he would receive an achievement like this. “No way in the world,” he laughed.
McGee said one of the things he loves most about the restaurant industry is that he can work alongside his family. “The occupation I have is one of the only ones you can have family in: I have my son and daughter in the business, a great niece, nephew, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law,” he said. “It’s a wonderful thing to have your family in the industry with you.”
The other two inductees alongside McGee were Walt Hallman, of Vella’s Restaurant and Tavern, and Nick and Petsa Meidanis, of Deno’s Fine Foods.
Little Pigs Barbecue is located at 4927 Alpine Road.