Gabby's Southern Cuisine celebrates food and family

Drew Butler
Gabby's Southern Cuisine opened earlier this month in Thompson Square. The restaurant is a partnership between native Ardmoreite Ondre Reynolds and chef Jerry Summers who met while serving in the United States Air Force.
Building owner James Thompson took special care while he was renovating the space for Gabby's. The unique rustic interior is filled with repurposed items Thompson had collected at some of his other properties over the years.

Ardmore’s newest restaurant, Gabby’s Southern Cuisine, opened earlier this month in Thompson Square. The menu focuses on traditional Southern items such as fried chicken and fish along with several barbecue options.

Gabby’s is run by business partners Ondre Reynolds, a native Ardmoreite, and Chef Jerry Summers, originally from Pittsburg, Pa. The pair originally met while serving in the United States Air Force. After leaving the military, they continued to stay in contact but had not seen each other until recently.

“He was running his restaurant up there in Pennsylvania, and while we were on the phone one day I said let’s get together and bring some good cooking down this way,” Reynolds said. “My family and I love to cook, but Jerry brings the chef experience. It’s a nice combination, and I like the way it’s coming together.”

Summers received a degree from the Culinary Arts Institute of America and ran a restaurant in Pittsburg until the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Corona is hitting pretty hard back at home,” Summers said. “So I’ve gone down to catering until it blows over. That’s when I’ll revitalize and revamp the dining room in my restaurant up there. But for right now we’re both concentrating on getting Gabby’s up and running.”

Summers said he personally created all the recipes used at Gabby’s. He also mixes his own seasoning and spices.

“The flavors that I’m bringing are authentic because I created the menu from my own recipes,” Summers said. “That’s what makes it so special. I did a lot of taste testing until I found a flavor that I liked. Then I started sharing that with some people here locally until I found what struck the right balance.”

He said one of his favorite dishes to prepare is his pulled pork.

“I take my time on it,” Summers said. “It’s a 16-hour process to smoke and slow cook it, and seasonings and the things I do to it make it different from what everybody else does. It really shows in the flavor, and a lot of people enjoy it.”

Reynolds said he wants his customers to feel like family when they come into the restaurant because he finds his own family especially important. He and Summers have each named menu items in honor of one of their parents. In fact, the name of the restaurant is also a tribute to family.

“Gabby is my daughter’s name, and the love that I have for her went into what we created here,” Reynolds said. “There’s a chicken sandwich on the menu named after my mother, and there’s a fish sandwich named after Jerry’s dad. There’s a lot of emotion in this restaurant.”

Gabby’s Southern Cuisine is located at 2015 West Broadway unit 33 inside Thompson Square. The hours of operation are Tuesday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.