Pres. Bush's favorite table at Christie's to sit empty in his honor

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Inside one of Houston's oldest restaurants is an empty table with fresh white flowers and a still flickering candle.

It's not the best seat in the house, but it's the one that President George H.W. Bush always chose.

Right next to the table is a group of men who visit the restaurant every month.

The group told Eyewitness News that they have known Bush since the 1960s, way before he became president.

"We call ourselves the Old-Timing group," one member said. "The Has-Been's."

The men are not only friends of Bush's, but also friends of Secretary of State James Baker.

"Most of us got a chance to go to Washington and the Oval Office," William Miller said.

The men described Bush as genuine and a real human.

"When he was nobody, he was the exact same as when he was a somebody," Hugh Ray said.

Baker brought Bush to Christie's restaurant for the first time more than 10 years ago.

Secretary Baker was a regular, and one day he said he was going to bring his friend.

"I didn't know who the friend was," Christie's general manager Maria Christie said.

Christie said every time Bush visited the restaurant, he attracted a crowd and ordered the same meal.

"When I asked the waitress what he wanted, she said, 'Oh, he wanted something called oyster stew, but we didn't have that.' I said, 'No, no. We're going to make that right now,'" Christie said.

Bush visited the restaurant for the last time on Nov. 1.

"Secretary Baker came by on Thursday and said, 'I went to go meet my friend. He's not doing too well,'" Christie said.

The very next day, Bush passed away.

Christie says she will continue to leave the spot open for the president and the group of men who have grown to love the oyster stew.

Follow Pooja Lodhia on Facebook and Twitter.
Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.