The Grey Market

The Grey Market

IT WAS only last month that Netflix announced that its award-winning documentary series Chef’s Table would feature local Savannahian and prized chef Mashama Bailey and her business partner John O. Morisano.

The episode, premiering next year, is set to tell the story of how the two created the Savannah’s The Grey, and how Chef Bailey is the first African American woman nominated for and a finalist in the runnings for the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast.

Chef Bailey ventured all the way down to Savannah from New York after connecting with Morisano, the brain behind the revamp of the old Greyhound bus station that now holds The Grey.

It goes without saying that The Grey and the team behind The Grey have helped put Savannah on the culinary map—finally! Chef Bailey showcases local ingredients and culture while bringing in inspiration from global influences.

The Grey houses two seating areas, each with their own menu, yet both offering patrons one of those dining experiences that you don’t forget.

Morisano is also from New York, so the idea to bring Savannah a third concept from The Grey team originated as he sat at a lunch counter in his home state.

“I went to a place in Washington Heights, a Dominican lunch spot, and I was like Savannah needs something like this,” he told me as we chatted at a high-top in his bustling new store front.

After visiting the one-of-a-kind new location, I couldn’t agree more that Savannah had a hole that is now filled by The Grey Market.

The concept of The Grey Market is simple—part store with high quality food related products and part restaurant with a food counter where you can perch and eat your lunch. Morisano explained the concept to me perfectly:

“Everything about this is a little familiar to Mashama and me, sort of like the bustling lunch counter with people almost throwing food at you.”

As for the bodega side, the thought was to aid those that work downtown and may need to stop into a store to grab one or two items.

You can also forgo stopping in to grab one or two items you forgot to pick up for dinner, and grab an entire precooked dinner created by The Grey. The market offers grab-and-go dinners (for an extremely reasonable price might I add) that usually features a meat, two sides, and bread.

“We tried it on the first night and it sold out immediately,” Morisano said, referencing the popularity of the family meals. Some of the items Morisano and Chef Bailey are considering featuring with the take-away meals include baked pasta, pork tenderloin, whole roasted fish, meatloaf, ribs, and fried chicken.

“All of the products that are in the market we [the Grey’s team] use. When we were talking about dry pasta, there was only one dry pasta in [his] grandmother’s Italian kitchen. Everything is picked that way,” Morisano explained describing the process of selecting products available for sale in the market.

Modeled after a true New York food hall counter, the menu is divided into breakfast, after 11 a.m., 4 p.m. to close, and all day items. You will also find baked goods and fountain sodas.

Also, the bagels are a big deal. “They are straight up New York bagels. Our baker is from New York, from the same borough of New York City I grew up in,” Morisano told me. I asked Morisano about why they chose New York style bagels over the rest.

He said, “in a way we don’t have a choice, we are all New Yorkers and do not know any other kind of bagel.”

Keeping true to The Grey’s northern roots, lox is offered alongside the bagels that are baked fresh daily. Chef Bailey’s version of lox is beet cured and served alongside cream cheese, red onion, and watercress.

Every single baked good, available in the store and both restaurants, is baked in-house on the top floor of the new marketplace.

I was told by Morisano that their NYC, a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, is another menu item that is 100 percent authentic to the big city. A true NYC bacon egg and cheese is served on a kaiser roll, and not a bagel or toast like so many southern versions.

“One of the thing Mashama and I knew had to be on the menu was a New York bacon egg and cheese,” said Morisano after I mistakenly asked if their version was served on a bagel. He told me you can get the sandwich on a bagel, but the true New York way is on a kaiser.

The Sizzlin’ Smoky Pig is a sandwich, on the All Day side of the menu, based on one of the original menu items served at The Grey, the Sizzlin’ Smokey Pig. It was pork served sizzling in a cast iron skillet with a cracked egg on the top. The new version features smoked pig, pepper relish, and a fried egg all served on a kaiser roll.

I asked Morisano what he personally picked to feature on the menu:

“I was interested in seeing how Mashama could take some of the things we cooked over at The Grey and use that as inspiration for doing things here…I was really interested in connecting the DNA of The Grey with The Grey Market.”

The Grey Market has a list of approximately thirty wines that was curated by the wine and beverage director Caleb. Per Morisano, “there are more fun and big wines here, we are not limiting ourselves to the old world wines like The Grey.”

So far The Market has hosted a few impromptu wine tastings, and plan on hosting more at the standing counter.

Original article is Here.


Beachview Java & Juice

Beachview Java & Juice

Part of Tybee Island’s allure, to both locals and visitors, is its qualities that have withstood the test of time against its potential to become saturated with high-rise condos and chain businesses.

With that being said, it is a rare occasion that a new place pops up on Tybee, and in many cases it is a familiar Tybee business that expands its resume.

As of this summer, Beachview Bed and Breakfast now falls into that category, opening their very own coffee, juice, and breakfast shop.

Beachview Bed and Breakfast is located on the south end of the Island, and has been a Tybee staple for some time. Owners Frank and Karen Kelly expanded the bed and breakfast in 2015 by opening a wedding venue next door.

After operating the venue for sometime, Frank and Kelly decided to switch gears and focus their energy on coffee and juice—an easy model considering the team’s love of coffee and Karen’s love of juice, Karen tells me.

The storefront itself epitomizes Tybee Island—rustic wood walls, a white washed wood ceiling, seashell chandeliers, and wall to wall windows for that beachside airy feeling. Walking in, you immediately take in everything our tourists love about our quaint and rarely-changing Tybee Island.

When it comes to the menu, “the entire team spent time researching coffee shops, small cafes, and juice bars, and they just started throwing different items together to come up with their always changing menu,” explains Karen.

Let’s start with coffee, which is in my opinion the most important part of any morning. After trying several coffee roasters, Beachview settled on Rev Coffee from Smyrna, Georgia.

Karen tells me: “We really loved Nick, the owner of Rev Coffee, and his personality and coffee.”

The flavor of the coffee is smooth and subtle, a great canvas for any sugary or creamy accompaniment that may get stirred in.

The “Beachview Turtle is our signature coffee drink and it’s served either hot or cold,” Karen explains.

I went for the cold version because the morning I visited was a typical toasty Tybee day. Two shots of fresh brewed espresso are layered in a tall glass with milk, hazelnut syrup, caramel, chocolate, and whipped cream.

Turtle could not have been a more fitting name. The drink is sweet, almost tricking the palate into thinking you are drinking a milkshake, but not before your tongue is tickled by the slightly bitter tinge of roasted espresso.

The restaurant offers several other specialty coffee drinks, including a caramel macchiato, a white mocha, and something dubbed The Don, which is served with steamed milk and a dark chocolate syrup.

For those a little more traditional in their coffee selection, drip coffee or a French press is available. The espresso options are just as plentiful, ranging from an americano to a Cuban, which may be my favorite way to drink espresso.

A Cuban is a double shot of espresso served with raw sugar at the bottom. You stir in the hot shot, which creates a warm pungently sweet shot of rich, dark coffee.

Equally as delicious is the store’s robust selection of fresh fruit smoothies. Every single ingredient is fresh, which makes the price of only $6 unbelievable.

The Berry Chill smoothie was my first choice because the list of ingredients featured every ingredient that is right about summer. Fresh bright blueberries are layered with syrupy sweet pineapple, tangy thick yogurt, and refreshing coconut water.

The emulsion is almost too beautiful to drink, and goes down quickly due to the balanced yet quenching and light flavor.

The Blueberry Kiwi smoothie also features blueberries, but has the addition of kiwi, almond milk, and honey—extremely unique pairings that give the smoothie a heartier and creamier texture and taste.

On the healthier side, although I am not sure you can get much more beneficial than what is already offered, is the Mango Kale Smoothie.  The lightest of them all, the Skinny, is blended with cucumber, spinach, mint, and orange juice — a smoothie that would be easy to drink beachside bearing the summer warmth.

Although named Java and Juice, Beachview offers more than just good coffee and refreshing smoothies. Karen tells me “all baked goods are made in house” and “she does the majority of baking.”

You read that right: The menu includes fresh moist baked breakfast treats ranging from muffins to French toast.

Karen also mentions The Nest, which is a dish that was created “one day when we [Beachview] had some extra ingredients.”

It is easily the most unique item offered at the quaint restaurant. Served in its own individual dish, shredded hash browns, eggs, and ham are baked together, which are essentially all of my favorite breakfast ingredients. You will find little salty bites of ham floating amongst tender and fluffy eggs, and the bottom adds a bit of texture with crispy hashbrowns.

“Our Swiss Eggs have been a been a Beachview Bed and Breakfast favorite and has quickly become a Java Juice favorite as well,” Karen boasts.

Like the Nest, this breakfast dish is prepared and served in its own individualized dish and is created with a combination of breakfast meat, cheese, and eggs.

On the more classic side of bed and breakfast food offerings is the Oscar Quiche, but the preparation is in no way classic. The order comes as a single slice of cloud-like egg quiche; floating amongst the robust wedge is a bounty of wilted vegetables of spinach, carrots, peppers, onions, and more.

As to be expected, the bottom is a tender flaky pastry crust that is buttery without being soggy. The bold quantity of ingredients is what makes this version far from classic.

Original article can be found Here.

Review: Café M

Review: Café M

IT’S BEEN SAID that Savannah is the new Brooklyn. But in my opinion, our quaint city is closer to that of a small European town than a suburb of a thriving mega-metropolis.

Bringing our lush city even more old world flair from America’s posh allies to the east is Cafe M on Bay Street, a restaurant that tricks the mind into believing you have been transported to a tiny bakery on a corner in Paris.

The brainchild of the lovely couple Amanda and Arthur de Bruc de Montplaisir (hence the “M” in Cafe M), Cafe M is a bona fide French bakery that is welcoming and authentic. On their honeymoon traveling from Chicago to Florida, the couple fell in love with Savannah and decided to bring a piece of their childhood to our growing town.

Upon glancing at the menu you will be faced with one immediate dilemma: mimosas or tea? The answer truly depends on the type of “funday” you intend to have, and no matter the decision, I can assure you your palate will fall in love.

The menu offers a plentiful range of teas with a choice between hot or cold. The cold teas are freshly brewed and served with a pitcher of ice, allowing you to chill it then pour your own glass.

The Blood Orange Black Tea has an elegant flavor, first striking the nose with a warm floral aroma, then dancing onto the tongue with a sweet earthy taste. Amanda selected Tea Forte as the brand featured by Cafe M because her brother, who lived in Paris, “would always bring her that tea….and the tea is normally sold in spas or hotels instead of restaurants”.

If you are a true Savannahian, I am going to guess you chose a mimosa. And if you are a true Southerner, you chose the Savannah Peach Mimosa.

A profoundly distinct mimosa, this fusion has all of the classic mimosa ingredients, orange juice and champagne, yet incorporates a Georgia peach summer wine as a boozy substitute for the peach purée that you’d normally find in a Bellini.

The savor of the wine is sour from the white grapes with a hint of sweetness from the peaches without losing its extremely comforting effervescence. One would expect the inclusion of peach to overpower the flavor of oranges and champagne, but each taste is well-defined.

As for food, you would disappoint both me and Amanda’s mother (because it is her recipe) if you did not give the quiche a try. Prior to last week I would have never imagined you could use decadent and quiche in the same sentence; but in describing the flavor of Cafe M’s quiche I could think of no other word.

I sampled the bacon, onion, and cheese quiche, or, as it is traditionally called, the Quiche Lorraine. The eggs are not over-cooked and provide the dish the texture of a custard.

First your mouth is coated with the flavor of silky eggs just before they completely melt away, leaving the salty taste of crispy pork. You’ll find fruit and a lightly dressed salad on the side dressed with house-made balsamic, citrus, and basil dressing, which is the perfect addition to cut through such a bold quiche.

Several people have attempted to bribe Amanda in sharing her mother’s recipe, but when you have the key to something so luscious, you keep a close eye on it.

If sandwiches are more your thing, The Normandy is one of the more popular sandwiches on the menu. Layered between two slices of fresh baked French bread comes organic greens, oozy Brie, delicate ham, toasty walnuts, and sugary pears.

The surprising addition that makes this sandwich extraordinary is a slathering of salted butter over each nook and cranny of both baguette slices. Every bite brings a new experience as your tongue unravels each layer of flavor, salty, sweet, buttery, and everything in between.

Every sandwich comes with a heap of vegetable chips that are organic and gluten free. Crunchy, nutty, and toasty is the best way to describe the unique chickpea chips. According to Arthur, they “can make any sandwich vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free.”

If by some chance you still have room (I know by this point I had cleaned both plates), ending the meal with something sweet and a cup coffee is good choice.

The croissants are baked in-house and can be ordered with a sweet or savory filling. Bananas, honey, and jelly are just some of the choices, but when I saw “bananas and Nutella” as an option, I knew my fate was sealed.

This croissant is exactly what you’d expect from a legitimate French bakery. As your teeth break through the hundreds of layers of pastry, you can hear the crunch as each one give way under the pressure of your bite.

Next, a flavor we all know and love, Nutella, rushes in to paint your tongue, but the true creaminess comes from the little slices of banana tucked throughout the filling.

Their coffee is a special blend of Perc Coffee that was created just for Cafe M to “recreate the profile of coffee that can be found in France,” Amanda

Upon drinking a cup you will discover that there is not a single ounce of bitterness, and just a faint touch of nuttiness. This coffee will pair well with anything on the menu, whether you order the breakfast drink iced or hot.

As for the future, Amanda told me, the store is “expanding…and we are even looking for another barista”. They will also be serving an Afternoon High Tea, featuring a gourmet brand of coffee and tea, Cafe Gourmand and a range of sweet and savory bites.

Between the welcoming vibes and the authentic taste of the dishes, Cafe M is as close as you can get to Parisian tradition outside of one of the famous arrondissements of the Mother City herself.

Original Connect Article can be found here