Famed Georgia chef Mashama Bailey opening Grey Diner Bar and Grey Market at new Thompson Hotel in Austin
Mashama Bailey has been one of the most celebrated American chefs of the last five years. Her Savannah, Ga., restaurant, the Grey, which she and business partner John Morisano converted from an old art deco bus terminal and opened in 2014, landed on best restaurant lists in magazines ranging from Southern Living to Wine Enthusiast.
Food & Wine named the beautiful Southern restaurant one of the best in the world, and Bailey’s work at the Savannah standout earned her a James Beard award for best chef in the Southeast in 2019. Bailey's win made her only the second female chef of color to take home a best chef prize from the James Beard Foundation.
More you might be interested in:Fifth & Brazos tower to add two hotels, 274 apartments to downtown Austin
Now, the New York native, whose career has included time at the lauded Prune in New York City, is bringing her talents to Austin. Bailey told the Cherry Bombe podcast in a January conversation that she has partnered with the forthcoming Thompson Hotel, slated as a part of a 32-story high-rise at 506 San Jacinto Blvd. Eater Austin confirmed the news with Bailey and Morisano.
On the Cherry Bombe podcast, Bailey described the Grey Diner Bar at the Thompson as having a “more cohesive dining experience" than the original in Savannah, which serves snacks like Hoppin' John and fried chicken and landed on Esquire's list of best bars in America in 2018. She said the partners would also operate a Grey Market at the hotel, which Bailey and Morisano have long described as a North-meets-South hybrid of a bodega/lunch counter.
The partners shared with Eater Austin some details on their thinking that led to the expansion to Austin.
“This city’s just booming. It’s about art, music, and all the things we love. The way it’s growing with such diversity was just compelling,” Morisano told Eater.
Bailey, who said on the podcast that she has only been to Austin once, told Cherry Bombe she is “excited to see what we can do there.” The restaurants are slated to open this summer, according to Eater.
Thompson Hotels has properties throughout the U.S. and Mexico. The Austin location will be its third in Texas, following the fall 2020 opening of Thompson Dallas and the soon-to-open Thompson San Antonio.
From Savannah Morning News: Mashama Bailey of Savannah’s The Grey awarded 2019 James Beard award for best southeast chef