Remembering George H.W. Bush: Houston restaurateur's daughter remembers growing up family friends George and Barbara Bush

ByMiya Shay KTRK logo
Saturday, December 1, 2018
Restaurateur's daughter recalls growing up with the Bushes
Gigi Huang was only a teenager when she had her first encounter with George and Barbara Bush at Hunan restaurant in Houston.

HOUSTON, Texas -- Long before George Bush was sworn in as the nation's 41st president with Barbara by his side, Gigi Huang considered them friends.

When Huang was a teenager, her father ran Hunan, a Chinese restaurant the Bushes visited often.

One day, Huang's father came home with a photo he took of the Bushes.

"I said, 'Dad, who are these people you took a picture of?' He said, 'Oh that's George Bush, he's the former US ambassador to China, and people say one day he may be the president to the United States.'"

Like many teenagers, Huang says she brushed off her dad's story, though she kept seeing the Bushes as the years went on.

Eventually, around the time she was running the family restaurant, Bush was elected president.

When the Bushes moved into the White House, Gigi and her father were invited to a state dinner.

"I told my father if I didn't get to go with him, I would quit managing the restaurant," Gigi remembered.

She says Mrs. Bush gave her guests from Texas a private tour of the White House.

"It was surreal, when we were there, we felt like we were walking on the clouds," Gigi said.

The Huang family grew so close that her sister Nancy even worked for the Bushes after she graduated from Georgetown University. Later, Nancy Huang served as Barbara Bush's personal assistant in Houston.

"She's always been a good friend to our family, and I could tell the relationship she had with my sister Nancy, she was like a mother figure to my sister Nancy."

More recently, the Bushes were regulars at Gigi's namesake restaurant in the Galleria Mall. For a time, Christmas Day for the Bushes meant a meal with Gigi.

President Bush's favorite was the Peking duck, while Mrs. Bush enjoyed the lettuce wraps.

Gigi says even after decades of knowing the family, what she remembers the most is date night, when the Bushes would just eat out, the two of them, still so obviously in love.

"You can tell the way they were looking, at each other's eyes, holding hands, they've been married 60, 70 years and it was still date night for them, you can just tell," Gigi said.

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