Soul food is back on the menu at Buffalo's Northland Training Center.
Officials cut the ribbon Monday morning on a new restaurant called Manna @ Northland. It replaces Gigi's, which operated at the space for just two weeks last spring before shutting down when it was unable to keep up with demand.
The restaurant at 683 Northland Avenue is being run by The Manna Culinary Group, a group of local culinary professionals with more than 80 years of combined experience in food service. That includes executive chef and director of operations Dale Holt, who said Manna will feature a "global" menu.
"We have a vegetarian experience that is second to none. My background being of New Orleans [and] my partner's background, who has traveled around the country, around the world, our global [menu] will have a wide variety of selections daily [including] healthy options, as well as international options," Holt said.
Manna @ Northland is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Holt said the space will host jazz and gospel events Sundays on a monthly basis and will feature works from local artists on its walls. Among the items on the menu Monday were fried chicken, red beans and rice, and short ribs.
Holt says his 22 employees include a mix of veteran kitchen staff and students from Buffalo's Emerson culinary school. He said the restaurant will provide a direct line of employment for Emerson students.
"There's students [and] there's some ex-employees of the past regime that we were very proud to be able to hire," Holt said. "So we're very excited that we have a wide burst of students and experience with our team."
Holt's wife, Tina Grant-Holt, is the restaurant's CEO and president in charge of menu creation, staffing, training and social media. Also on the team is sous chef and director of catering Reginald Ingram.
"We're not going nowhere. Manna is here to stay."
WBFO's Nick Lippa contributed to this report.