Food & Drink

Southern Chef Mashama Bailey Is Bringing Two Beloved Restaurants to Austin This Year

The Grey Diner Bar and The Grey Market will open in the summer.

If Texans aren't already familiar with Georgia chef Mashama Bailey, they're about to be. The award-winning restaurateur confirmed that she's bringing two of her renowned Savannah, Georgia, eateries to Austin, Texas, this year.

Bailey has become a staple of Savannah's culinary scene following the launch of her wildly popular restaurant, The Grey. Since opening its doors in 2014, she and her business partner, John O. Morisano, have expanded the project to include two spinoff experiences—The Diner Bar at The Grey and The Grey Market—that will now be replicated in ATX. New locations of the diner bar and market are set to open inside the almost-finished Thompson Austin hotel this summer.

In 2019, Bailey was named Best Chef in the Southeast by the James Beard Foundation. Prior to making moves in Georgia, she was a self-described "New York City girl," born in the Bronx, raised in Queens, and professionally trained in Manhattan. She cooked around NYC for a dozen years. Now, after conquering the Northeast and Southeast, she'll widen her reach to South Central United States.

News of The Grey's expansion to Texas first broke in January, when Bailey discussed her and Morisano's plans on Cherry Bombe's podcast. She describes the Austin diner bar as a "larger version" of the Savannah original with cocktails and snacks. Austin's Grey Market concept is described as a "bodega-meets-lunch counter."

According to Eater, Bailey and Morisano have been approached several times about bringing The Grey to a new community. They grew excited about the idea of Austin in particular because of its diversity, energy, and youthfulness.

"In a couple of months, we do the same thing, we go to another city and start it all over again," Bailey said on the podcast. "Austin looks amazing ... I'm excited to see what we can do there."

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Kyler Alvord is a news writer at Thrillist. Find him on Twitter and Instagram. Or don't. It's really up to you.
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