Fans of Gussie's Chicken and Waffles, which shuttered back in November, will be pleased to learn that the Fillmore soul-food spot is coming back in a big way—this time, across the bay. Owner Michele Wilson is hard at work plotting Gussie's Southern Table and Bar, an expanded version of the restaurant in uptown Oakland (2021 Broadway, right next to the Paramount Theater) that will feature live music, a full liquor license and cocktails, and the comfort food on which Gussie's made its name. (It's the second SF restaurant to announce a fresh start in Oakland this week alone—Union Square's Millennium is also planning a move.)
Wilson, who got her start running northern California's only Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles franchise, says that things went south at the original Gussie's after a horrible three-day period last June in which her husband underwent emergency open-heart surgery, her parked car was totaled, and the restaurant flooded. "But everything happens for a reason," she says, and now that her husband has recovered, she's excited to become part of the Oakland dining scene. Gussie's fans can expect chicken, sweet potato waffles, and Cajun catfish nuggets to remain on the menu, along with some new additions like gluten-free waffles, crab fritters, and vegan black-eyed pea hummus. The drinks menu will be straightforward and Southern-themed, with options like a spiked brown-sugar lemonade and an apple-pie old fashioned.
The space, which is being designed by Arcsine (Duende, Southpaw BBQ, the forthcoming Calavera), will feature a 60-seat upstairs dining room and a 60-seat downstairs lounge; each level will have its own bar, and the downstairs will have live music and DJs. It'll be a full buildout that Wilson describes as "urban chic with some Southern charm," and will include some outdoor seating. If all goes well, expect it to arrive in September; its previously announced neighbor in the historic '30s Art Deco building, LGBT-oriented bar The Port, should open around the same time.