Gabby’s back for more in Follansbee

Members of the Follansbee Chamber of Commerce and city officials helped Rick Roach, the new owner of Gabby’s Welcome Cafe — which has been renamed Gabby’s Again — to celebrate the restaurant’s re-opening with a ribbon cutting. Taking part were, front, from left, Mayor David Velegol Jr.; chamber member Carmel Esposito; Chamber President Tony Paesano; Roach; and chamber members Cindy Kocher, Olive McGee, Brandy Puskarich Bradley and Pat Accettolo: and back, Councilman Scott McMahon; City Attorney Michael Gaudio; chamber member Eric Fithyan; and Councilmen Rudy Cipriani and Vito “Skip” Cutrone. — Contributed

FOLLANSBEE — Area residents who remember enjoying a hot roast beef sandwich and other food at Gabby’s Welcome Cafe or who are just looking for a relaxing place to watch a game while having a beer are encouraged to stop by the restaurant at 855 Main St., which has been re-opened by Rick Roach.

A Follansbee native, Roach has renamed the business Gabby’s Again because he’s kept many of the things past patrons enjoyed about the eatery while adding something new as well.

The menu includes the roast beef sandwich remembered fondly by many long-time clientele as well as mild and hot sausage sandwiches, meatball sandwiches with cheese, hamburgers with or without cheese, hot dogs, tuna sandwiches and on Wednesdays and Fridays, fish sandwiches. Roach explained both days were always meatless when he was growing up Catholic and attending St. Anthony School.

Gabby’s new menu includes various salads, chili, assorted appetizers and homemade soups and pasta dishes to be offered as specials.

Roach said he likes to use locally produced foods, including Italian bread produced by an area bakery; and prefers to make many of the items, including appetizers, from scratch.

He encourages visitors to try his special sauce, which he said is “spicy but not overpowering” and goes well on many sandwiches.

Roach said Gabby’s will offer various soft drinks and beer, adding he envisions Gabby’s as a quiet place where people can meet and watch a game on the restaurant’s two 60-inch televisions.

A 1985 graduate of Brooke High School, Roach worked for many years in the steel industry, but like many, has suffered from its struggles.

When the Ball Corp. announced plans to close the Weirton plant where he’s employed, he decided to try putting his love of cooking to use professionally.

Roach added he’s happy to re-open a business that had operated in Follansbee for 80 years.

“(When I was) growing up, it was just one of those places everyone knew,” he said of Gabby’s, which was owned and operated by Gabriel Grilli, who died last year.

Current plans call for Gabby’s to open at noon seven days a week, and Roach envisions steady take-out business for lunch.

He is aided by staff members Jodi Lombardo, Chelsea Johnson and Danielle Clancy and his son, Stone.

Roach said he will work hard to give customers great food and a pleasant experience and welcomes comments and constructive criticism.

“Good or bad, I want to hear about it,” said Roach, who noted the business has a Facebook page at Gabby’s Again.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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