The Grey in Savannah GA is the perfect place to have dinner or lunch. Read our restaurant review on The Grey and recommendations on what to eat!
She grabbed my hand and away we flew…
And so, the wife and I embarked on our first couples mini-vacay of the summer. Now, that our boys are older we feel comfortable leaving them behind (does that sound mean?) and taking the opportunity to enjoy traveling with a lot more peace and tranquility. Not that we enjoy leaving the boys behind but as a married couple we have learned to put a premium on quality couples only trips, and we’re 100% unapologetic about it. Sorry, not sorry. Bye ya’ll we outa here!
We’ll travel to food destinations too, what’s wrong with that?
I am not sure of the when and the where I became aware of The Grey, a restaurant located in Savannah, Georgia. But I do know this, that ever since The Grey has been on my radar, it’s been calling my name. I have been determined to visit this beyond cool (understatement) restaurant for almost two years now. Well, as fate would have it, and as the result of some thoughtful, strategic, and deliberate planning. My lovely wife and I have ventured from Michigan and traveled down south to the crown jewel of Georgia, the beautiful antebellum city of Savannah. Savannah is positioned along coastal East Georgia’s Savannah River. Fact: Savannah is the oldest city in the state.
Old Savannah is the New Savannah
Savannah may be the oldest city in the state of Georgia, but it is unmistakenly wreathed in both historical and modern architectural nuances. And with its distinct character and slow-paced living, this is a town which feels welcoming with a relaxed sophistication you will fall in love with instantly. Southern hospitality? Check ! Solidly intact!
The Garden City is the third largest metropolis in Georgia and is laid out on a grid comprised of 24 squares. The old-growth oaks are lovingly draped in Spanish moss. Our nights are spent strolling beneath antique gas lamps illuminating the night as my wife, and I strolled through the romantic squares after sunset. We stole kisses under olden oaks which dot the landscape like stoic and verdant sentinels from a bygone age. There is history everywhere, from the statue John Wesley located in Reynolds Square or the beautiful Forsyth Fountain with cherubs galore. There is little doubt Savannah is a city suited for lovers. No lie.
We saved the best for last…
When you look at The Grey, even before you enter the establishment you’ll notice it’s unique architecture. It is unmistakenly Art Deco with it’s rounded corners and muted tones. The banded steel around the rim of the awning was glinting like a beacon in the summer sun, signaling, “if you’re hungry, step on in”. Or if you want to be surrounded by good company the remedy and cure is the same prescription, come on in and take a seat and you’ll feel right at home. Without a doubt, The Grey, it stands out from the rest of the surrounding buildings in the neighborhood. And maybe it is apt that this restaurant has morphed out of relative obscurity from the remains of an old Greyhound station.
Buses were at a time, the modern sailboats cutting fissures across the highways of the American any where and everywhere…
Because bus stations are both fixtures representing the going away and the returning to. So, like it’s namesake, I guess you can say that The Grey does both very well. Yet, this restaurant is also a return to something more familiar and timeless too. The Grey is, more than anything else, a place of community and of common interests. And this was evident from the very beginning. For the proprietors, Johno Morisano and Chef Mashama Bailey, this was a premeditated move. Just take a look at some of the photos adorning the walls. These snapshots depict some of the local workers who renovated the building (their blood, sweat, and tears are forever and inextricably a part of this place), there is also photos of the members of the local A.M.E church choir.
No mistake, this place is embedded into the local community, embued with positive vibes and graciously good intentions.
Toto, we’re not is Kansas anymore…
Nope, you’re in Savannah, and the queen of the kitchen is holding court! And she’s holding it down quite nicely, as a matter of fact, and hank you very much! Chef Mashama Bailey
The Grey not only nourishes the physical body but like any impactful eatery it provides sustenance for the soul as well…
The smiling faces
They’re everywhere. Smiling welcoming faces greet us when the enter through the doors to the Diner Bar. The barkeep behind the beautiful expanse of wood and shiny cocktail making accouterments is all smiles as well. The young woman greeting us renders a kind and genial grin. We ourselves smile at the simple beauty of this place, the interior harbors light but there is also dark benevolent shadows here too. Perhaps the shadow play of history creeping, the wayfaring ghosts of yesteryear waiting for ghostly buses to haul them north, south, east or west.
The lunch special is Southern hospitality served over easy…
We’ve stopped in for lunch and instead of stepping into the main restaurant seating area we side-step left into the diner bar. The diner bar is awash in summer sunlight, and we were seated in a comfortable booth. I like booths, they’re snug, and there is something very intimate about them, at least that’s my take. And this booth was just the right amount of everything. It wasn’t too wide, nor was the table too high or low, it was just ideal. My ride or die chick and I huddle over a single menu and try to suss out what to order. Our waitress recites the lunch offerings, and we agonize over what to eat (because the menu is heavy laden with too much good stuff!). We eventually settle on the Grilled Cuban Sandwiches with house made potato chips.
The first bite at a new restaurant can be hit or miss…
As our lunch is being prepared, we take the opportunity to chat up the barkeep and our waitress, both are informative about the establishment and relay some interesting facts. The Grey used to be a Greyhound Bus Station, thus the name. It was also the first air-conditioned bus station in the whole state of Georgia. It is at this moment we learn about some interesting details about The Grey. The photos which include an assortment historical images, constructions workers who helped renovate this gorgeous space and the black and white photos of members of a local church. There is local art adorning the walls and a recreated retro feel which makes you feel both appreciative that maybe they’ve only taken the good parts of the 1930s and brought them back to life. It’s nostalgic but without showing you everything, nor should it. The south is the south, and history is history. This place is an homage to both. This place is a vital and actively symbolic returning to home from afar and bringing the good stuff back with you. It is als0 knowing that life is all about concession, for in order to bring the world back you too have to give yourself to every single place you’ve ever visited. And like the saying goes, “fair exchange ain’t no robbery.”
Our food comes from a familiar place
Our Cuban sandwiches arrive on rustic wooden serving platters adjacent to petite dill Kosher pickles, and a pile of rough-hewn and golden brown potato chips. This isn’t just a delicious and satisfying meal it is also visual entertainment and a flavorful trip to Havana without leaving the blue-clad seating of this charming diner. The toasted bread is delicious, the pork well-seasoned and tender, everything about this sandwich is satisfying. The pickle dotting on the mustard, the hand-cut potato chips doing a solo riff of their own. Lunch as a Jazz quartet. It’s all good stuff. The food is gone too soon; it is definitely bittersweet. But now, we have this enduring memory we can tack onto the food map of a shared experience. We vow to come back, but maybe we’re never really leaving in the first place. Because like I said, “you got to leave a little bit of yourself wherever you go,” and in regards to The Grey I don’t mind at all. I order a decadent ice cream sandwich to go, and as it’s dripping down my hand in the wondrously sunshine outside on the sidewalk, this Savannah memory is making out of me a gleeful native son.
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<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/130574679″>The Grey: Meet the Designers</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user41019407″>John Morisano</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
If you’re making your way to Savannah, Georgia make sure you carve out time for a visit. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Stay tuned for more restaurant and destination reviews on This Worthey Life.