After the devastating fire at the iconic GiGi’s Restaurant in November of 2015 the Black community held its breath in hopes it would one day be reopened.
Blondine Harvin, the amazing woman who embodied all that the eatery represented, at least initially, expressed faith that she would rise again in the same location.
The community waited patiently.Nearly three years later the big announcement finally came in March of 2018 that GiGi’s was reopening.
But the excitement soon turned to shock and surprise when it was learned that the restaurant was moving to a new location.
GiGi’s new home would be inside the Workforce Training Center on Northland Avenue.
The iconic building at E. ferry had been sold.
Despite the fact that many people expressed skepticism about the planned move from day one, the community was willing to give it a chance and support the restaurant none the less.
The reopening at the Northland Workforce site was originally scheduled for the summer of 2018.
The community continued to wait.
Finally, on February 25, some 4 years after the tragic blaze, and the passing of our beloved Blondine, Gigi’s opened in the Northland Corridor to tremendous fanfare.
Upwards of a thousand people turned out for the long awaited event.
All the ribbon cutters were there for the photo op. It was quite an impressive group of notables.
But the party ended sooner than anyone could have ever imagined.
Just Two short weeks after Gigi’s opened, the restaurant shut down for good.
A press conference was called to deliver the bad news.
But the owner, Mr. Harvin, was not there, nor were any of the key ribbon cutters and supporters
The president of BUDC stood alone to meet the press and to speak on behalf of Mr. Harvin.
“Regrettably Mr. Harvin has determined that, with the restaurant volume exceeding all projections and expectations, it’s in the best interest of everyone to find a new operator. Mayor Brown is working directly with the Buffalo Urban Development Corp. staff to immediately begin the search for a local restaurateur who can serve the community moving forward.’”
Mayor Brown and BUDC have assured they will have a replacement restaurant in the building within six weeks.
And it has already been reported that Mr. Harvin is open to leasing Gigi’s name and recipies to another vendor if someone can do the job.
But there was only one Gigi’s. And only one Blondine. Now they both are gone.
Since the press conference Mr. Harvin has publicly taken full responsibility for the failure of the restaurant.
There are a lot of unanswered questions and we may never know what happened, or why the people who set this project in motion did not see this coming…
Or did they?