Restaurant remains culinary hotspot in NECD

Known for its southern cooking, Gg Fish and Chicken is a neighborhood favorite in Northeast Central Durham. Last year the restaurant was highlighted in The Voice as one of the best eateries in Durham to dine in. Is it still a one of tastiest places to eat?

“I love eating here,” said Jarrel Turrentine, who was dining in the restaurant. “It’s the best.”

Haitham Afifi works behind the counter of his restaurant.

Haitham Afifi works behind the counter of his restaurant. (Staff photo by Destiny Owens)

Other customers agreed. “You get a lot of food – that’s why I like coming here,” said customer Melissa Brown. “And I always order the popcorn shrimp and oysters. It’s my favorite.”

Haitham Afifi is an Egypt native who started the business with his brother and two friends in 2010.

Originally, the group had another restaurant in Durham at a separate location called Ritzy’s Fish and Chicken but the area around the business was not good for sales because of the shopping center’s condition. The team decided to move and change the name of the business.   “The shopping center was not good, and when you move you have to do something to change the idea in the customer’s mind so that they do not think our business is bad too because of the location it was in,” Afifi said.
He said customers “followed me from the old location, and we gained many new customers in this area.”

Karoline Shannon is one of those customers.    “I have loved this restaurant since it was in the old spot,” Shannon said. “My favorite dish is the chicken wings that come with hush puppies and two sides, I get fries and slaw.”  Afifi believes the reasonable prices of his food bring people to the restaurant.

“If you go to a restaurant and spend like $30, you are not going to go there everyday but when you spend like $15 or less maybe you can go there more often,” He said. “I could choose to sell a plate for like $30 just one time and make a profit, but then maybe next year I would have to close my business down.”

Customer Sherrod Bryant jokingly said he wondered “how they stay in business selling food that cheap but said “it is so good and accessible because it is right down the street from campus so me and my friends will always keep them in business!”  Afifi has opened another location in Raleigh.

“In the future I want to expand my restaurant more and maybe become franchised like McDonald’s,” he said. “You know, it is my dream and everyone has to dream.”