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Oklahoma Hall of Fame Publishing

What A Ride! The Life of Hal Smith

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Born in Ardmore, Oklahoma, Hal Smith began his career in the restaurant business while attending the University of Oklahoma. Soon, he joined Steak and Ale and eventually was president and CEO of the nationwide chain and vice president of Pillsbury. Along the way, he was president of Chili’s Restaurants and chairman and CEO of Chi-Chi’s Mexican Restaurants. At every stop along the way, Sandy, his wife of more than 50 years, has been his biggest supporter and cheerleader.

In 1991, Hal and Sandy returned to Norman and founded Hal Smith Restaurants and began restaurant concepts that have become household names. Hal has created brands that heighten the senses through inspired architectural settings, excellent service, and cuisine that satisfies all tastes, from fine dining to casual eats.

In his more than 50 years in the restaurant business, Hal has opened more than 500 restaurants. Hal Smith Restaurants now operates 14 different restaurant concepts in seven states.

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