Thorpe was visiting family in Florida when her daughter called to give her the big news.
“(She) said, ‘Hey mom are you having fun?’ and I said, ‘Yeah I’m having fun what’s going on?’ And she said, ‘Well, make sure you enjoy yourself because when you get back, we got to go to work now’ and I said, ‘Oh Lord!’” Thorpe recalled.
When Thorpe returned to Dayton, she said their family began working day and night to get the placed cleaned, ready and licensed to open their doors.
While working out a menu plan, the family initially decided to supply soul food as the restaurant’s staple. However, their plan has evolved, offering “Soul food Sundays” in particular among a variety of dishes.
“Instead of just offering greens, macaroni and cheese, dressing, candied yams, sweet potato pies and (more), throughout the week we’ll also offer cheesesteaks, pork chops, ribs, grilled cheese sandwiches, mozzarella sticks, fries, (and) onion rings,” Thorpe said.
With six children and 12 grandchildren, Thorpe’s business and personal life are very family-oriented. In particular, James Michael Anderson Sr., a.k.a. Big Mike, is Anderson’s husband and the restaurant’s floor manager.
OKD’s was able to also hire a handful of employees outside of the family, including those “less fortunate” who have been hit by hard times due to the pandemic, according to Thorpe.
However, taking charge of the kitchen as head chef at OKD’s is Thorpe’s husband, Allister Thorpe Sr. This year marks their 20th wedding anniversary.
“Everybody loves him,” Thorpe said. “We have our Facebook page and everybody (has given) us really good feedback. We’re really excited. Somebody else mailed us a card just thanking us for our service.”
In fact, Thorpe Sr. served as a transportation driver for a local daycare before it closed due to the pandemic.
“I always used to say, ‘You don’t think you want to run a restaurant?’ Because at home, I’m not a cook,” Thorpe said. “We have six kids and they’re all grown now, but he is the major cook in the family. … He can make up dishes like, ‘Man what’s in here?’ That’s always been a thing.”
In addition to owning the Black is Beauty Hair Store next to OKD’s, Thorpe and her daughters are also partners in owning Queen Status Beauty and Haircare Salon on Linden Ave. and in Trotwood.
To stay up to date on OKD’s happenings and to learn more about the new restaurant, visit their “O.K.D’s Restaurant” facebook page.