Mashama Bailey Is Closing Diner Bar and the Grey Market in Austin

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Mashama Bailey Is Closing Diner Bar and the Grey Market in Austin

One of the most powerful chefs in the culinary world is getting out of the Lone Star State.

The James Beard Award winner Mashama Bailey will close her two Austin, Texas, restaurants on Sunday, Eater Austin reported on Monday. Bailey and her business partner Johno Morisano opened the casual café the Grey Market and the Southern restaurant Diner Bar in 2022, both at the Thompson Austin hotel.

“The Thompson Hotel’s ownership is continuing to internalize all [food & beverage] operations,” Bobby Hernandez, the general manager of both spots, told Eater in an email. Hyatt, the parent company, began that process earlier this year. Melina Indrasena, the Thompson’s revenue and reservations manager, confirmed the closing date to Eater as well.

Bailey rose to fame as the chef behind the Grey in Savannah, Georgia, which she also opened with Morisano. There, she cooks up what she calls Port City Southern food, which encompasses dishes like grits topped with foie gras and quail with Creole sauce. In 2019, she was named Best Chef: Southeast by the James Beard Foundation, and just three years later she won the group’s Outstanding Chef award.

The Austin restaurants were Bailey’s first expansion outside of Georgia, although she and Morisano are planning to open a restaurant in Paris later this year or early next. She’s also been celebrated in her own episode of Chef’s Table, and she has a MasterClass all about how to cook Southern fare.

The shuttering of Diner Bar and the Grey Market are part of a larger trend occurring with Austin hotel restaurants, Eater noted. The Thompson had also previously been home to Wax Myrtle’s, which was run by a Chicago-based hospitality company. That spot closed at the end of last year, and it was replaced by a new Mexican restaurant in March.

And at the Hyatt Centric Congress Avenue, the San Antonio chef Steve McHugh had debuted two restaurants in February 2023. Both of those establishments closed at the beginning of this year, with the hotel saying that the two had “decided to part ways,” according to Eater.

In a hotel-restaurant landscape that can often be underwhelming, Bailey’s Austin eateries were a bright spot. While the city may be losing her lauded cooking, we can at least be thankful that the Grey remains in Savannah. And that Bailey will soon be operating in the City of Lights, too.

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