Wednesday, March 04, 2015

50 Plates of Grey

When I travel, I try to do a morning run to stay in shape AND to get a quick overview of the city I am staying in. And yes, I run with my camera. On my most recent trip to Savannah, I was shocked to see that the old boarded up Greyhound Station had been restored and repurposed as a restaurant titled The Grey.

The original terrazzo tile entrance remains, welcoming diners as they enter.

The vitrolite panels, a staple in many art deco buildings, looked brand-spanking new. I later found out that they were, as the originals had been stucco-ed over and ruined beyond repair.

I came back to try it that night, despite what the concierge at my inn had told me when I asked him what kind of food they served. "Probably burgers." I found out when I entered that this was definitely not a burger joint. What an idiot.

While I waited for my table, I had an El Diablo, a vintage cocktail expertly crafted by the bearded bartender. It was a great start to a fantastic experience.

The interior was just as amazing as the outside. While it was obvious that the place had been cleaned up and restored, there were still enough original gritty details to let you know you were in a historic structure.

The place was packed with diners who were obviously enjoying their food.

I started off with probably the best beet salad I have ever eaten. The beets were roasted to perfection and served with their greens and a buttermilk yogurt dressing. I normally take photos of what I eat, but this time, I didn't bother, as much of what I ate would not have translated into a pretty picture. My grilled hanger steak was served with a potato cake and a fenugreek aioli, and it pretty much melted in my mouth. I also ordered the whole fired (not fried) sweet potato; I ate the whole thing…skin and all.

Besides a complimentary appetizer, the owner also served up this deliciously retro frozen lemonade on a stick to cleanse my palette. Concocted by Chef Mashama Bailey, they are a throwback to the popsicles she once ate back in the 1980's at a neighbor's house.

Dessert was a tasty apple cobbler, accompanied by a cheese biscuit and vanilla ice cream from Leopold's, a local ice cream shop (more on them in a future post).

All of the signage was expertly crafted, creatively reminding guests of the structure's origins.

I am still salivating over the vintage tile.

And yes, I took my camera to the restrooms.

A pop of color, courtesy of this photo of a drag queen's gams:

Original floor tiles; be still my heart.

The capper to the whole experience was the fantabulous wait staff. Scott and Kate were the absolute best. Great conversation, thoughtful recommendations, and a huge dose of hip. Best of all, Scott serves a mean Skinny Bitch Tea! Not sure it helped much with the waistline, but it was worth a try!

I had the pleasure of talking to the owner, John Morisano, who gave me the back story on his restaurant. Typically focusing on tech and media startups, New Yorker Morisano fell in love with the dilapidated building when he first saw it back in 2012. Kudos to Morisano for what he has created. I ended up returning a second time, and plan on doing so again when I next visit my favorite southern city.

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K. Martinez said...

Wow!! What beautiful photos today. This place looks amazing inside and out. The sweet potato sounds awesome. Being a potato freak, I've always eaten the whole thing, skin and all. I'm hungry already.

Irene said...

What an amazing place! I hope you want back to the hotel concierge and gave him a what for!

Fifthrider said...

Holy cow. I'm tempted to say what you found inside trumped the outside but no, it does not. They are equally fantastic and on par. The concierge doesn't know his own territory and has become complacent with known recommendations. New or vintage, the place is clean and organized with a clear theme. ....I'm talking to you, modern day Imagineers. (ahem)

Martin Turnbull said...

Thanks for posting these photos! I love them! I only wish this place was in California - I'd be there in a heart beat.