GiGi Willikers earns Local Flavor Award for a fresh take on a classic sandwich
by Josh Bootsma, with Melanie Jongsma
LANSING, Ill. (December 12, 2022) – GiGi Willikers Hoagies and Wings is new to the Lansing food scene, opening its doors in mid-September to serve hoagies, burgers, hot dogs, wings, and other classic offerings to hungry customers. Beyond the classics on the menu, however, owner Gia Davis has turned her namesake sandwiches into servings of healthy, fresh creativity: Hoagy Bowls.
GiGi Willikers Hoagies and Wings contact info
Address: 2394 172nd Street, Lansing, IL 60438
Signature dish: Bawk Bawk Bowl
Davis knows herself: she loves bread. But in a health-conscious effort to avoid eating it all the time, she created Hoagy Bowls. Hoagy Bowls include all the elements of a hoagy, minus the giant bread roll. (Davis does include a small piece of warm garlic bread with each bowl, as a concession to her inner bread-lover.)
GiGi Willikers Hoagies and Wings earned a Local Flavor Award specifically for the Bawk Bawk Bowl, named after the seasoned grilled chicken that sits atop the other fresh ingredients in the bowl: lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pepperoncini, cucumbers, cheddar cheese, and a special house vinaigrette dressing. The chopped chicken breast pairs well with the dressing, giving a juicy, savory flavor to the fresh-tasting bowl. Arriving in a sturdy plastic container for both dine-in and to-go diners, the bowl travels well, and could easily be stretched to two meals, given its size.
For those thinking the Bawk Bawk Bowl sounds like a salad with chicken, don’t tell Davis that. She has nixed the “S word” from the menu entirely, saying, “‘Salad’ is a very taboo word here at GiGi Willikers. You can get a salad anywhere. But you can only get a Hoagy Bowl here at GiGi Willikers.”
Other menu items
Anything offered as a Hoagy Bowl also comes in its original form, a hoagy. Diners can choose from a combination of turkey, ham, bacon, salami, chicken, and steak hoagies. And the “Veggie It Out” option provides a meat-free alternative. Other menu items include “Williker Wieners” (hot dogs), Italian beef, burgers, and loaded baked potatoes, which can be piled high with steak, chicken, turkey, or Italian beef. Chicken wings are also a popular menu offering, accompanied by made-to-order french fries.
Most of GiGi Willikers’ patrons are to-go diners, but the restaurant does have a handful of small tables for dine-in eaters. Davis is planning to add more seating to accommodate anyone interested in a fresh alternative to fast food.
- Because everything on the menu is cooked fresh, Davis recommends calling ahead for most orders, especially anything with grilled chicken, which takes extra time.
- Owner Gia Davis is known by her grandkids as “GiGi,” and is also fond of exclamations such as “Gee Willikers” — hence her restaurant’s name: GiGi Willikers Hoagies and Wings.
- Ample parking is available in the large lot of the strip mall, which is immediately west of Torrence Avenue at 172nd Street.
- The restaurant’s full menu is available at gigiwillikers.com, while current hours can be found on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
The Lansing Journal featured GiGi Willikers in a September video at its ribbon cutting:
- Lansing Journal launches Local Flavor Awards
- Local Flavor Awards – current listing
- Nominate your favorite Lansing restaurant (click to send an email)