Welcome to Gigis’s Cucina Povera! We are a locally owned Business serving the freshest of local ingredients in a Sicilian Country atmosphere. Our Chef Mary Ann Giordano, author of the best-selling Saint Joseph’s Day Table Cookbook and a Nickel City Chef competitor, is excited to showcase her ancestral recipes in her new restaurant at 981 Kenmore Avenue, the former location of the iconic Hourglass restaurant, and more recently, O’Connell’s. Chef and Owner Mary Ann Giordano has been cooking locally for more than 25 years, most recently at the Creekview Restaurant in Williamsville. She also teaches cooking classes at the Auburn Watson Culinary Center.
The restaurant’s name is a tribute to both her Sicilian heritage and her seven-year-old daughter, Gabriella Giordano. La Cucina Povera is an Italian phrase that means "cooking of the poor," or "peasant cooking.” On a deeper level it reflects a philosophy that is common to all cultures: making do with what you have to transform humble ingredients into dishes that are more than the sum of their parts. At Gigi’s, expect to eat “great food made with simple, fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients at affordable prices.”
The menu is definitively Mediterranean, featuring many Sicilian favorites. Sicily has a long rich history and has endured foreign occupation many times. As a result Sicilian cuisine encompasses a broader flavor palette than its kissing cousin, Italian. With each invasion another group of ingredients was incorporated into the cuisine. There is ample evidence of Greek, Spanish, Norman, Arabic and other influences. All left their mark on Sicily’s culinary landscape and will turn up in dishes at Gigi’s.
Chef Giordano has designed the menu with sharing in mind. The substantial menu offers an array of small plates, sandwiches, salads and pastas which are available in 2 sizes, , as well as classic entrees such as chicken Saltimbocca, baked cod with a pistachio herb crust and Bistecca Palermo, all served with seasonal greens and roasted potatoes. The affordable prices and small plate format makes it easy to share and take the opportunity to explore many flavors. Healthy dining options, gluten-free dishes and fun and healthy children’s fare are also on the menu. The primarily Italian/ Sicilian wine list includes several New York State bottles, as well. The Italian theme continues with classic cocktails like the Godfather, Bellini, Aperol Spritz, and Negroni.
Giordano has transformed The Hourglass to reflect her Sicilian heritage. A new mural by local artist Sara Carbrey adorns the back wall, and all of the paintings are the work of Paul B. Giordano M.D, Chef Mary Ann’s father and Cookbook co-author. The barn wood accents throughout are from the chef’s 1800s-era Ellicottville barn. We are delighted to have you as guests and sincerely hope you enjoy your evening with us!