Pictured l/r Reginald Ingrim, Tina Grant-Holt & Dale Holt photo Blanc Photographie
Tina Grant-Holt was 10 years old when she prepared her first stove-top meal. It was hamburger patties.
The first dish Dale Holt recalls cooking was chicken salad with his iconic mother the late Velma Holt.
Reginald Ingram, with the help of his mom, made Thanksgiving dressing when he was 8 or 9 years old. At the age of 13 he catered an entire family wedding.
Today Tina, her husband Dale and partner Reginald make up the talented team of the Manna Culinary Group, operators of Manna@Northland, the newest East Buffalo restaurant scheduled to open inside Northland Central at 683 Northland. The grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on Monday, November 4 at 10 a.m. A “soft opening” is scheduled for this Friday November 1 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
For the trio it’s a dream come true. Manna@Northland is where “soul” is at the root of healthy eating.
Together, the Manna Culinary Group has a combined 80 years of local experience in food service, catering and culinary education between them. Tina, who manages and educates 80-plus students daily, has the ability to offer culinary positions to Emerson students which will be a very real benefit to the business.
-What’s in a Name?”-
The partners came up with the name for the business collectively. “I said ‘Manna’ and they said ‘@Northland’ recalled Reginald. “It was like a confirmation,” recalled Tina. The significance of Manna in the Bible of God making daily provisions for those wandering in the desert, fit their purpose perfectly.“We are believers in God and He has been leading us all the way,” she continued. “For people in the community we would like to provide them with delicious food on a daily basis….we want to provide food for the soul.
Echoing his wife’s take on what Manna seeks to offer Dale added, “We’re truly about food for the soul and in our staple dishes we will never forget our roots. But being there is so much obesity, hypertension and diabetes in our community, we have a very strong concept of healthy eating, for example vegetarian greens, vegetarian specials and fresh soups daily. We’re going to have our chicken and fried fish too! But we’re going to show a global menu to host Western New York and truly the East side of Buffalo.”
The restaurant concept will feature eat-in and grab-and-go breakfast lunch and dinner services available from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Fridays. In addition to their basic menu which includes All to Go Sandwiches and Wraps, and a host of fresh salads including, Quinoa and Mama’s Mango Chicken Salad (the one Dale’s mom taught him to make). They offer a “Soup of the Day” and in keeping with Manna@ Northland’s Biblical theme will be an “Adam and Eve Special” and a “Last Supper Grab N’ Go” featuring Rotisserie or Fried Chicken and Cornbread. A Juneteenth special is offered as well as a vegetarian jambalaya made with brown rice. The restaurant has also partnered with Golden Cup to create their very own special Manna coffee blend.
The establishment is closed for exclusive bookings on weekends. Their first once a month Jazz Brunch will begin in January. Manna@Northland will also present an on going in-house art exhibit, where the works of a local artist will be on display every few months. Creations by internationally renowned celebrated painter LeRoi Johnson will be the first to grace the walls of the restaurant.
-A Great Opportunity-
In August Mayor Brown announced that the Manna Culinary Group had been selected to operate the new restaurant at the Northland Avenue facility; taking over the space briefly occupied by the former Gigi’s. The final selection was made by the Buffalo Urban development Corporation (BUDC) after an extensive review process that included a taste testing panel and on-site food preparation drill.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have won this RFP (Request for Proposals). The Mayor and the City of Buffalo has been very supportive of us; Mr. Woods at the Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center, Mr. Cammarata of the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation (BUDC) and most importantly, the partnership with the Buffalo Urban League and Brenda McDuffie,” said Dale.
“When you have a desire to do something, and you are walking thru that desire as it comes to fruition (this restaurant) that’s amazing,” said Tina. “It hasn’t been easy but God has been leading us and guiding us every step of the way…and as long as we put Him first, everything will be ok.”
“We all agree,” confirmed Reginald, “this is bigger than us…because God bought us three together.”
“The legacy of the cooks of all our families – the Ingrams, the Grants and truly the Holts – has been a legacy in food,” concluded Dale, “and now we have this platform to keep it going.”
MANNA@NORTHLAND: THE TEAM
Tina Grant-Holt: Educator and Executive Chef
Tina is a chef with a diverse culinary background. Pursuing her passion for food and people, her career began in Jamestown, New York working at Friendly’s Restaurant as a cook to move quickly to becoming head cook. Next she landed a job within the Public School System as a food service worker and was promoted to food service manager overseeing a small staff. Some years later she made a decision to move to Buffalo N.Y. Chef Tina enrolled in the Culinary Arts program at ECC (where she met her husband Dale) and graduated at the top of her class. It was there that she gained the necessary knowledge and skills to become a successful caterer and partnered with Holt’s Cooking Company.
Presently she is operating a commercial kitchen both front and back-of-house managing and educating 80 plus students to feed over 500 students on a daily basis.
Chef Tina serves as the CEO and President in charge of menu creation, staffing and training, and social media.
Dale Holt: Director of Operations Executive Chef
Known throughout Western New York as an authentic Creole Chef, Dale
studied in New Orleans under several renowned chefs.”I never dreamed of being a chef. Being a musician I moved to New Orleans to further my music career…such is life’s journey!” The Eastside has had the privilege to experience Chef Dale of Holt’s Cooking Company for the past 25 years. His restaurant operation experience began in Buffalo where he managed a team to open the restaurant downtown called YaYa’s. Leaving the city, he traveled to New Orleans and LA, working in several hotels and restaurants as both chef and manager. He also trained and educated upcoming culinarians in San Francisco.
Reginald Ingram: Executive Sous Chef: Director of Catering
Reginald Ingram of Ingram Brothers Catering is carrying 30 plus years of well-known impeccable catering service. As a young man he moved to Atlanta, GA and started his career with Hyatt Regency hotels where he became part of the culinary team that opened a new hotel in the Cayman Islands. That experience opened the door for him to work as Sous Chef at other locations where he managed up to 20 employees at both hotels in Tampa, Fl and Rochester, NY. After returning to Buffalo, he started Ingram Brothers Catering in 1984. Annually Chef Ingram travels to Aruba where he is part of the culinary staff of the South Beach Music Festival. At Manna@Northland, Reginald is in charge of overseeing catering and kitchen operations. Since the Manna Group was formed, Holt Catering and Ingram Bro. Catering as emerged and now known as Manna Catering Group
Congratulations To this Phenomenal Unified effort to bring the East Side of Buffalo a new alternative in the way they can experience healthy “soulful” food!