by Max Marbut
It has been a while since it was available, but the aroma of garlic, oregano and olive oil can again be detected on East Bay Street between Ocean and Newnan Streets. The former Nicky G’s location has been reopened as Northstar Substation by Michigan native Kris Kiger.
“I just wanted to bring a product Downtown that people will enjoy and I also want to be part of the East Bay Street entertainment area,” said Kiger.
Kiger, who you might recognize if you’ve been to Bourbon Street Station on the Southside, has been working toward making sure he’s ready for Georgia-Florida weekend.
“It took a month to go from finding the location to being ready to open the door and fire up the brick pizza oven,” said Kiger. “I know this weekend will be interesting and it will show us what kind of business we could do every day after people discover us.”
Kiger also has a plan for after the football fans are gone, based on his walking around the neighborhood and asking people what they liked – and didn’t like – about Nicky G’s.
“Downtown restaurant business depends on lunch,” said Kiger. “I know people are looking for quality food that can be served quickly. Northstar’s not about fast food, we’re about good food fast. We know most people who work Downtown have an hour for lunch, so we can serve pizza or a sandwich in less than 10 minutes.”
There’s a marketing plan for weekend business that will begin with Saturday afternoon karaoke for kids.
“And we’re going to let the kids make their own pizzas,” said Kiger.
Northstar will also be co-promoting with the Ivy Ultra Bar next door, since the club doesn’t sell food and Kiger doesn’t sell liquor.
Northstar is open Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. and closes at 1 a.m. except Friday and Saturday when last call for pizza and hoagies won’t happen until 3 a.m.
“We’ll also be open on Sundays two hours before kickoff on Jaguars’ game days,” said Kiger.
Kiger also said since he grew up in Michigan and has worked in pizza restaurants, “off and on” his entire life, he learned how to make a pie that’s not quite Chicago-style and not quite New York-style because Michigan is halfway between the two pizza-prominant locations.