Having just met her, like most Beeville residents who have been lucky enough, she’s all smiles and doesn’t mind taking the time to chat with you about your day.
And why has she been bouncing all over town the past few weeks? Well, she’s bringing her Memphis-style barbecue to Beeville – that’s why.
The Nashville native first moved to Beeville a little over three years ago, working for a local oil and gas company as an independent land manager.
Once her contract was up, she moved back to Tennessee.
“My best girlfriend’s husband was ill,” Davis recalls with a heavy heart.
“And while she was working, I stayed in their home, around the clock to help her with her husband at no charge.
“But at the end, he died in April. And I miss him so much.
“But I stayed with my friend until she was comfortable enough for me to leave.
“So I just put it in God’s hands.”
And during that period, Davis kept the power and cable on at her home in Beeville just in case another contract came up, and she could come back.
“I just felt that one day I would be back. It feels like home; it feels good. People are so nice and friendly.
“I haven’t had anything but pleasant experiences since I’ve lived here.”
Eventually, she decided that she should go ahead and move completely back to Tennessee.
So, she flew down to San Antonio and drove down to Beeville, ready to pack up her things once and for all.
“In a day and a half, the movers were coming to pack me up and move me back to Tennessee.”
However, on her way back to Beeville, she got some interesting phone calls from her friends saying that there was a spot in town that would be perfect for her to open a barbecue restaurant.
“So I thought, ‘Well, Lord, what are you telling me?’ There was a reason I never gave up my home.”
And, as soon as she drove into town, she went straight to the restaurant, the old Anthony’s BBQ spot at the intersection of U.S. Highway 59 and FM Road 351 on the city’s west side.
“I said, ‘That’s nice, Lord.’ So I thanked him and said, ‘I know when you close a window, you will open a door.”
“And I have a lot of faith. And, Lord, if this is what you want me to do, I’m going to walk through it.”
So, she walked through it and hasn’t looked back since. From getting the building to meeting more of the locals, she’s been a busy woman.
This isn’t her first foray into the restaurant business. Back in the late ’90s, she had a supper club for a few years in San Diego, Calif.
And while she was here during her first year in the oil and gas industry, she began bringing her unique brand of barbecue to the locals.
Her chef, Shad Harper, was basically raised in the barbecue business because his mom and sisters owned a restaurant in Covington, Tenn.
So when he passed through town to visit his mother, he would stop by and whip up a batch of barbecue with Davis and some of her co-workers.
She then did the same for some local business owners and other people she had met along the way.
“The third time was when I invited what I called the ‘movers and the shakers.’ It was just people that I had met all along my journey that were doing a number of professional things.
“They loved it. So I was thinking, ‘OK, Lord, what are you saying?’
So then when the movers were a day and a half away from packing her up, she decided to stay and open Norma’s Bar-B-Que and Catering.
“First, I start off with the two T’s. T in Tennessee and T in Texas, so we got a connection right there.
“Beeville is a small town, and I was raised in a small town. In Tennessee, everybody barbecues, just like in Beeville.”
But it’s the different style of cueing it up that makes all the difference.
“We cook our meat low and slow. We don’t advocate the sauce. The sauce is homemade by the chef, but the sauce doesn’t make our meat. You can eat it without the sauce and still enjoy it.
“And we use hickory wood. I know mesquite is popular here, so we’re going to mix a little bit of hickory and a little bit of mesquite together and give you a different flavor.
“We’re going to be brothers and sisters in this,” Davis said with a laugh.
So, for everyone waiting to try Davis’ Memphis barbecue, you won’t have to wait long.
She’s having a soft opening today, Friday, and is inviting everyone to attend.
“Sure, why not? The food’s going to be so good you’ll overlook our mistakes,” Davis said with a huge grin.
And her grand opening is the following Saturday, Aug. 3, when she’ll have face painting, balloons, live music, and everyone will receive a special gift as they enter the restaurant.
“I’m giving away a free gift to everyone who comes through the door, and if I run out, I’m taking names, and you can come back and get yours.
“We’re going to have a good time all day long. It’s starts at 11 a.m., and we close at 9 p.m.”
So, if Davis’ excitement is any indication of things to come, there should be plenty of good food and fun to be had by all.
“I guarantee you will enjoy it. I will guarantee you’ll to come back. And I guarantee you that if any little thing goes wrong, you can tell Norma, and I’ll make it right to the best of my ability.
“We’re just going to enjoy what we do. I believe that if I’m happy, everybody in my circle is happy.”
And everyone is invited to join Davis’ circle. Especially if you have a big appetite.
Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.