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Gabi brings the all-day French cafe experience to North Broad Street

Gabi, open initially for lunch and dinner, is "analogous to the French version of an American diner,” said Peter Woolsey, one of the owners.

Dining room seating at Gabi.
Dining room seating at Gabi.Read moreCOURTESY GABI

Chefs Peter Woolsey and Kenneth Bush and manager Brad Histad are all-in on North Broad Street, as the stretch north of Vine Street sees a rise in office and residential development.

Gabi, their unfussy, all-day French cafe with a 1930s Art Deco feel, will see its first customers at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 4 at 339 N. Broad St., just north of Roman Catholic High and the Packard Building.

Gabi, open initially for lunch and dinner, is "analogous to the French version of an American diner,” said Woolsey, who’s been feeding Francophiles for a decade at his Bistrot La Minette at Sixth and Bainbridge and more recently at La Peg, at the FringeArts headquarters at Race and Delaware. Both Bush, executive chef at Bistrot La Minette, and Histand, general manager at Bistrot La Minette and La Peg, have worked for Woolsey for years and are stepping up into ownership. (Woolsey’s wife, Peg, is French-born. Gabi is the nickname of her sister Delphine.)

Gabi’s all-day menu expands by five entrees beginning at 5 p.m. Brunch starts at 10 a.m. on weekends.

Additional hours, including 7 a.m. breakfast (“toasted baguettes and a big bowl of coffee,” plus egg dishes, served on the bar), will be added in coming weeks.

“Performance is key,” Woolsey said. “We won’t start breakfast until lunch is ready.”

Traditional dishes come at affordable prices; most are less than $20, including onion soup gratinée with croutons and Comté cheese ($9); Niçoise salad with tuna confit, egg, tomato, green beans, radish, potato, pepper, olives, greens and herbes de Provence vinaigrette ($15); escargots in roasted garlic-parsley butter (six for $8); steak tartare with classic accompaniments ($13); croque madame sandwich, with bechamel, ham, Comté cheese and sunny-side-up egg ($13); steak frites with red wine shallot sauce or peppercorn cognac sauce ($23 for an 8-ounce bistrot steak and $29 for a 12-ounce ribeye steak); and duck Confit ($15); )

Full bar’s focus is on classic French cocktails such as the French 75; liqueurs, aperitifs and digestifs; French and domestic beers; and mostly French wines by the glass and by the bottle.

Gabi has been a long time coming. The project was signed three years ago. Why the long gestation? “We’ve been trying to get 20 different parties on the same page” to do the work, Woolsey said. “And we’re still running two other restaurants. We’re actually not stressed about it. We decided to just let it happen.”