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Gigi's soul food restaurant sets opening date in Northland

Gigi’s, the reborn soul food restaurant, will welcome the public to its shiny new location on Feb. 18.

Built into the northeast corner of the Northland Workforce Training Center, 683 Northland Ave., Gigi’s Northland will offer a menu of soul food classics, plus a new assortment of lighter dishes.

“We are bringing back all the favorites,” said restaurant owner Darryl Harvin. His mother, Blondine, ran the original, at 257 E. Ferry St., until it burned in 2015.

The dishes customers flocked to her restaurant for what will soon be available about a mile and a quarter away. Fried haddock with grits, beef bacon, pancakes and the weekly lineup of specials like stewed oxtails, and smothered pork chops are all returning.

Gigi’s classic desserts – sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, banana pudding – are returning as well.

“We are going to introduce some healthy options,” said Allison DeHonney, the restaurant’s general manager. “We’ve got our garden salad, fruit cup. Yogurt and granola, and a strawberry and spinach salad.”

[Related: Overarching goal for Northland | Update on Northland workforce]

The northeast corner of the Northland Workforce Training Center will soon be a spot to get soul food favorites, at the rebooted Gigi's. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

Collard greens and other produce from nearby urban farms will be used in the restaurant, DeHonney said. Other sides will include black-eyed peas, candied yams, lima beans, cabbage and macaroni and cheese.

The restaurant will hold about 70 people, at tables and a line of counter stools with a kitchen view, just like the old place. There’s also a patio that can be opened to the inside by rolling up a garage-type door.

The restaurant will employ 15 to 20 people. Continuity in food will be easier to achieve since Joe White, the chef at the East Ferry location, is returning to run the kitchen.

Blondine Harvin bought the original Gigi’s for $300 in 1959, her son said. She died last month, and her son dedicated his efforts to her mission.

Carrying on the Gigi’s tradition is “truly the biggest honor, and the biggest challenge in my life,” Darryl Harvin said. Hopefully the new place can be as much of a contributor to the community, he said.

“We want to be a part of the renaissance in Buffalo,” he said. “We do have a place in this renaissance.”

Hours: 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.

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