Seafood restaurant helps Durham earn its tasty title

According to a magazine contest taking place right now, Durham is considered one of the best places to dine in the South.

24-year old Issac Pettiford enjoys his tray of whiting, hushpuppies, and fries while waiting his turn for a haircut next door.  (Photo: Marissa Peterson)

24-year old Issac Pettiford enjoys his tray of whiting, hushpuppies, and fries while waiting his turn for a haircut next door. (Photo: Marissa Peterson)

Southern Living magazine is hosting “The Tastiest Town Awards” sweepstakes to name the town with most delicious restaurants. Durham is currently in second place, nipping the heels of Memphis, Tenn. Anyone can vote online once a day until Feb. 28.

Gg Fish & Chicken, located at 826 Fayetteville Street in Durham, is one restaurant that has consumers raving and voting for the Bull City.

Famous for its seafood and Philly cheesesteaks, Gg’s has been feeding Durham residents, along with commuters to and from the Triangle, at its current location since June 2010.

The restaurant was formerly named Ritzy Fish & Chicken and was located in the Lakewood Shopping Center. Owner Haitham Afifi said he decided to relocate to the Phoenix Crossing Shopping Center due to poor working conditions at the Lakewood location.

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Afifi works behind the counter while his staff prepares food in the kitchen behind him. (Photo: Marissa Peterson)

Afifi, who hails from Egypt with a degree in accounting, said he has enjoyed running the business in safer conditions and in the more prosperous location near North Carolina Central University and other businesses.

“It’s easier when you do something you like,” Afifi said. “The business is like your son, watching it grow in front of you.”

Afifi’s business partner, Ali Fakhreddrne, who has worked at Gg’s for three years, noted that after church services on Sundays are an extremely busy time for the restaurant. Gg’s caters to members of Mount Vernon Baptist Church, St Titus Episcopal Church and Lincoln Memorial Baptist Church, along with several others.

The staff stays busy during lunch and dinner hours and has even changed the work schedule to serve people craving their food earlier.

“I used to come in at 10:30 to open the store, and there would be a line of people [outside]… so I started coming at 9:30 to prepare,” Fakhreddrne said.

It’s the perfect combination of taste, price and portions at Gg’s that brought 24-year-old Issac Pettiford back for a second visit.

“I love seafood, and they have great fish,” Pettiford said while eating a tray of whiting, hushpuppies and fries, a portion he was surprised to find was only “medium.”

The aroma of fried fish can be smelled outside, luring customers inside where the options on Gg’s menu are numerous. Customers can choose between catfish, flounder, whiting, trout, clams, oysters, scallops, chicken wings and several other choices.

Speedy service also makes Gg’s customers return.

“We are famous because we make the food in just five to 10 minutes max,” Afifi said, a time-limit that holds true for take-out and for customers dining in.

The restaurant has planted its roots in the Northeast Central Durham community, helping schools, churches, civic organizations and other groups meet their fundraising goals. By donating and discounting their food, Afifi and his staff continue to give back to the community they enjoy serving and seeing every day.

Gg Fish & Chicken continues to provide tasty meals for Durham, as well as commuters of the Triangle, helping elevate the Bull City to the position as one of the most scrumptious towns in the South.


Where to vote in Southern Livings contest:

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Reporter for the Durham VOICE and UNC-Chapel Hill student. Contact the Durham VOICE staff at

2 thoughts on “Seafood restaurant helps Durham earn its tasty title

  1. Thanks, Marissa. I can taste the crispy crust on that flaky fish now. I wish I was at Gg’s. I just discovered the Durham VOICE, so I hope I’m not being redundant, but I lived a few blocks from Paschall’s Grill on Holloway Street from 1979-95 and loved their hotdogs. I hear it is still around under new management and think you should check it out.

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