Reimagining Southern Food Through Grey Spaces
For the American restaurant industry, there is no American fare without the contributions and influences of Black chefs and Black culture. To honor their impact on the industry, this month we’re highlighting chefs making big moves in the culinary scene!
Photo: Sarah Kohut
Chef Mashama and The Diner Bar
Today we’re checking back in with a chef we feature during 2021’s Women’s History Month. Savannah-based chef Mashama Bailey has been using her culinary experience to impact her community. Now Chef Mashama, along with business partner Johno Morisano, is opening The Diner Bar and The Grey Market in Austin, Texas.
Much like the flagship location in Savannah, The Diner Bar will center around local brands in the Austin community. The Diner Bar is located in downtown Austin on the ground level of Thompson and Tommie Hotels. The menu will continue to play off of the familiar port city Southern cuisine found at The Grey and incorporate local ingredients and Texas flavors.
Photo: Adam Kuehl
Chef Mashama and The Grey
Joining the Southern food movement as a Black woman, Chef Mashama Bailey wanted to reimagine the Southern Black experience through food. As author Osayi Endolyn stated in Netflix’s “Chef’s Table”, “Mashama Bailey has shown Savannah that, yes, you can celebrate these traditional dishes, but we can push it, too.”
In 2014 Chef Mashama partnered with Johno Morisano to open The Grey, a restaurant converted from an abandoned, formally segregated Greyhound station in the middle of downtown Savannah.
As a James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Southeast 2019 winner, Chef Mashama’s culinary voice resonates with many people. Chef Mashama grew up on her grandmother’s Southern dishes. When she became a chef, she wanted to honor her grandmother’s casual Southern food by using her formal culinary training to show people that Black cooking is more than just fried chicken and black-eyed peas.