I went in to talk with the new owner and proprietor of 700 Modern on Front Street. I had spoken with her on the phone a few times already as we set up a day and time to meet. She sounded so petite, but I know from experience that most people do not match how they sound on the phone. Boy was I wrong! Gigi is a sweet petite young lady with the prettiest eyes ever.
Some of my interviewees will ask if I can just send them some questions, but that is not how I do things. Like always, I explained what I do and how I do it. I am more personable than a list of questions so when I arrived, the interview began.
Gigi and her husband, Jamie, have been married for 25 years and have two children. “One of each,” Gigi said of her children, “A boy and a girl.”
We started off talking a little about many things like the restaurant, her career, what role her husband is going to play in this business. Although, Gigi is straightforward, but more reserved than her husband is, she does strike me as a person who can handle things with a no-nonsense, yet, gentle personality.
One thing she did share with me was that she’s always wanted her own restaurant since she was a young 14-year old girl. I believe she has the right personality to be in the restaurant business. It’s taken her about 30 years to make it happen, and at 45 years old, she finally managed it.
I asked her to tell me about herself as this was her story, but she explained to me that she felt uncomfortable talking about herself. Instead, we talked mostly about the business...that seemed to be her comfort zone. I noted that her beautiful green-hazel eyes lit up when she talked about it, too.
“I didn’t even know it was on the market,” I commented casually.
“Well, we heard about it from someone,” Gigi explained, “So we checked into it and it turned out that the previous owner really was looking to retire.”
I glanced in Jamie’s direction. He shrugged a little and reconfirmed, “She’s always wanted this, it was her dream to have her own place, and it was our chance to get it.”
“What about you?” I asked Jamie. “What will you be doing here?”
“I’ll be doing whatever she needs me to do,” he answered quite frankly. “I don’t have a title here like waitress, or manager; I’m just here to help her make it work.”
I turned back to Gigi. “You said you’ve always wanted your own restaurant; why?”
“I don’t know. It’s just something I like to do. I even started out as a server, waiting tables and things. I guess I just enjoy making people happy like my customers. It’s like...they’re family. I remember them, their special events, and what they like to eat and drink,” she explained. With a laugh she added, “I just sometimes draw a blank with their names, but everything else I can remember well.”
I nodded and said, “That’s like Andrea Johnson at Aunny’s. She’s always worked in restaurants and it’s been her passion to one day own her own place, as well.”
We did talk for a little while longer about the future of the business, past and present alike. In closing, I want to say that one thing I feel is unfortunate is that 700 no longer serves sushi. They had stopped long before Gigi bought the place.
Apparently, when Rollin Local opened, they naturally became the competition in the sushi department, but when the previous owner’s sushi chef retired, he just decided to stop serving it completely. No matter. The rest of the menu is just as good as it ever was.
However, on the up side of their recent purchase: Gigi is planning to reopen during lunch hours again. “We’re just working on a lunch menu and making a few changes and adjustments and then we’ll be open for lunch, too.”
Before I left, I asked her to share a funny story story with me from her personal life or work experience. She thought a minute, laughed, and then answered, “On my first job, the first time I ever poured someone a glass of tea, I poured it into his lap.”
“How did that happen?” I asked.
“The pitcher had a top on it and I misunderstood how it locked on and when I poured, it came off and poured the tea into his lap. He was okay about it, but I thought for sure I was history. I thought to myself that this wasn’t going to work out so well. He laughed about it, though.”
I finished making my notes and closed my notebook. Personally, I cannot wait for the lunch menu. I love having lunch on Front Street so I’ll definitely be waiting in anticipation to check out the new menu. I may even have to do a follow up on this just to update.
Until then, thank you Gigi Avant for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit down and talk to me. Georgetown wishes you the best of luck with your endeavor.