Gigi’s: A restaurant that creates community six miles outside Athens

The doors unlock at 7 a.m. and let in an elderly couple that could float away after all the coffee they drink. A little later Greg comes in. He’s a local who comes in twice a day every day. Then JT. He shuffles to the back booth to claim His space. His dirty overalls and rat tail braid make his drink order of green tea with honey somewhat surprising and humorous. The rest of JT’s boys come in and sit in the booth to begin discussing the day’s work ahead of them. When asked what his favorite part of Gigi’s was, JT replied, “I love the community, I know I can always find my boys here.”

Six miles north of Ohio University’s Athens Campus is Gigi’s Country Kitchen; a small one-room breakfast and lunch restaurant that holds the hearts of the townspeople.

The locals love to come here because it is a common meeting ground. However, it is the waitresses that make Gigi’s feel like home.

Scroll through Yelp! reviews and one after another mentions the staff.

“The staff is extremely upbeat, and the owner is awesome,” writes reviewer Noah A.

Gigi’s Country Kitchen knows their customers: locals. And the owner caters to them. Hospitality and friendliness at Gigi’s is hard to find at other restaurants. The owner makes sure each “over easy” egg is cooked just runny enough for the customer (let’s be honest, everyone has a different understanding of egg temps).

A story shared on Facebook conveys the staff’s hospitality:

“Picked up the special for lunch and when I got back to work I found there was no sauce on the meatloaf. When I called to see if they had changed the recipe, they already knew why I was calling. They had realized the mistake and had tried to catch me. A brand-new order was delivered to my office. Talk about customer service! Nobody treats customers this good anymore!”

The owner, Travis Brand, opened five years ago. He said he named it after his grandma. There is a picture of her in the dining room.

The six miles between Gigi’s and Rufus the Bobcat serve as a barrier only select students cross. Ohio University is located in uptown Athens, while Gigi’s Country Kitchen is located in The Plains, Ohio. Although both places are located in Athens County, students are unaware of this hidden gem.

“I had a tour guide tell me about Gigi’s,” senior OU student Andrew Hohman says. “Now I take my parents every time they’re in town.”

Last year The Athens News asked readers to vote on their favorite places to eat in Athens. In the breakfast category, Gigi’s broke through. The Athens News wrote, “GiGi’s is a new entrant in this category, and we’ll just have to go over there and check it out.”

Check out some more of the menu items here:

Let us know what you think! Comment below and let us know what you think of Gigi’s Country Kitchen’s community atmosphere.

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