The Grey


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When not running the Grey, owner John O. “Johno” Morisano is busy as Vice President on the Boards of the National Arts Club and UN Women.

Quetin Bacon & Chia Chong

Tucked behind one of the chrome trimmed tables beside The Grey’s open kitchen, John O. “Johno” Morisano cuts an appropriately anachronistic figure. From his horn-rimmed glasses to the checked pattern on his tie to the vibrant blue of his wool blazer, he would have blended right in sitting at this exact table decades ago, when The Grey was simply a Greyhound Station. And with his surroundings harkening back in similar fashion to that post art-deco heyday, it’s easy to feel like maybe you’ve stepped back in time when you meet him. 

 

It’s only when you see Morisano’s designer jeans leading down to a pair of double monk-strap Oxfords and smell the aroma of expertly crafted cuisine that most definitely would not have accompanied a trip to a bus terminal, that the illusion is broken and you realize you are still firmly planted in the present.

 

But this temporary fit of time travel is to be expected in a place like The Grey. In fact, that’s kind of the idea. “The design challenge we faced with The Grey when we were building it was don’t (mess) up the bus terminal, and to drop a restaurant in that always felt like it was here,” he says.

 

“It’s easier said than done.”

 

 

The building that now houses The Grey will turn 80 this year, built at the height of an art deco movement that is reflected in every bold curve of the soffits and every strip of metallic accent running along the walls. By the time it closed its doors to travelers in 1964, it had been slightly tweaked to post-war sensibilities, imbuing it with an “art modern” style.

 

It was this style that caught Morisano’s eye, enrapturing him from the moment he stepped through a hole in the wall close to where a roll-up bay door now marks “Gate One” along one wall of the dining room. Photographs along the walls now show the state of disrepair the building had fallen into in the nearly 50 years it sat empty. During that first visit, Morisano was greeted by peeling paint, sagging eaves, loosely scattered piles of debris, and the inevitable results of decades of neglect.

 

But in that art deco style, in the timelessly elegant way the walls swooped around the open space by the old Gates, the way salmon-flecked terrazzo flooring showed where thousands of passengers had worn down a line leading up to the ticket counter, the way chrome begged to gleam beneath layers of tarnish, he saw potential.

 

“I came in and it was just like, ‘Bam,’” Morisano says. “It was very decrepit, but I remember thinking this is a really cool building and it used to be something really interesting.” For this New York City media mogul turned venture capitalist and part-time real estate investor, buying the building was the perfect way to give back to his adopted hometown of Savannah. After a year of negotiation, he secured ownership and was ready to transform this downtown eyesore into something amazing. The question then became, what would that something be?

 

“I was part of a team that did an adaptive reuse in New York of an old Yiddish Vaudeville Theater, where we took it and turned it into a five-screen art house movie theater that ended up being very successful. So this concept of adaptive reuse was not really new to me,” he says.

 

Ideas included parsing up the space to serve as offices, or building up on it, but his fundamental instinct was to leave this beautiful building intact. From there, it wasn’t too much of a stretch to decide on turning the old Greyhound station into a restaurant. “I went home and told my wife, Carol, that I was going to build a restaurant down at 109 MLK and she said, ‘Oh, okay. So you’re completely crazy.’”

 

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Events Calendar

  • "The Prints of Dame Laura Knight" Exhibition at Telfair Museums

    Jan 19, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Telfair Museums' Jepson Center

    Telfair Museums exhibits nine prints by Dame Laura Knight (British, 1877-1970), together for the first time since they were acquired by the museum...

  • Ready. Set. Summer. at Bluemercury!

    May 13, 2019
    10:00 AM - 8:00 PM @ Bluemercury

    Summer is quickly approaching – stop into your local neighborhood beauty store Bluemercury for all the essentials you need to refresh your summer...

  • "Keita Takahashi: Zooming Out" Exhibition at Telfair Musuems

    Jan 24, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Telfair Museums hosts the first museum survey of the work of visionary videogame designer Keita Takahashi (Japanese, b. 1975). Takahashi is noted...

  • “Jaume Plensa Talking Continents” Exhibition at Telfair Museums

    Mar 01, 2019
    12:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Jaume Plensa (Spanish, b. 1955) is one of the world’s foremost living sculptors. He is widely known for large-scale public artworks and more...

  • "Rembrandt and the Jewish Experience" at Telfair Museums

    Mar 15, 2019
    12:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    This exhibition contains 21 etchings by Rembrandt and one drawing by Rembrandt’s teacher Pieter Lastman (Dutch, 1583-1633). These works highlight...

  • Rembrandt Exhibit

    Mar 15, 2019
    All Day @ Jepson Center

    Rembrandt lived and worked in Amsterdam during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. Although most residents of Amsterdam during...

  • Savannah Arts Academy Class of 2019 Graduation

    May 21, 2019
    9:00 AM @ Savannah Civic Center

    The Class of 2019 of Savannah Art's Academy will be graduating at the Civic Center May 22 at 9 A.M. Students will be given 20 tickets to give...

  • Teacher Tuesdays

    May 07, 2019
    5:00 PM - 7:00 PM @ 39 Rue de Jean

    If you're a teacher, come visit us at 39 Rue de Jean on May 7th, May 14th, May 21st, and May 28th from 5pm-7pm for a glass of bubbles on us. We...

  • 200th Anniversary Celebration

    May 22, 2019
    5:30 PM - 9:00 PM @ Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum

    Join us for the 200th anniversary of the SS Savannah's historic trans-Atlantic crossing - the WORLD'S FIRST oceanic voyage under steam! In...

  • Fermenting Our Meditation Practice with Susan Lamb

    May 01, 2019
    7:15 PM - 8:30 PM @ Savannah Power Yoga

    Most of us begin meditation practice hoping to feel less anxious, to be more focused, or remain in a steadier state when approaching the challenges...

  • National Maritime Day

    May 22, 2019
    All Day @ Ships of the Sea

  • SS Savannah (1819-2019)

    May 23, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Ships of the Sea Museum

    2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the SS Savannah's groundbreaking trans-Atlantic crossing.  In recognition of this monumental achievement,...

  • SS Savannah (1819-2019)

    May 23, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Ships of the Sea Museum

    2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the SS Savannah's groundbreaking trans-Atlantic crossing.  In recognition of this monumental achievement,...

  • Moose Tracks - 10,000 Scoops Challenge

    May 23, 2019
    11:00 AM - 3:00 PM @ Ellis Square

    Enjoy FREE Mayfield Creamery Moose Tracks Ice Cream to help raise $10,000 for The Salvation Army of Savannah. Moose Tracks is partnering with...

  • Hospice Savannah Party and Art Auction

    May 23, 2019
    5:30 PM @ Cha Bella

    Hospice Savannah’s  Board members invite the community to celebrate 40 years of “The Art of Living”  at a Summer Nights Party and Art...

  • Friday Concert Series

    May 03, 2019
    7:00 PM - 12:00 AM @ Historic Courthouse, Downtown Blairsville on the S

    Come enjoy live music every Friday Night from the first Friday of May through the end of October. The Historic Union County Court House will host...

  • Savannah Mile

    May 25, 2019
    8:00 AM - 1:00 PM @ Forsyth Park

    The 14th Annual Savannah Mile presented by the Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire honors our fallen first responders, their families, and our...

  • Bug Fest

    May 25, 2019
    10:00 AM - 4:00 PM @ Savannah Children's Museum

    Savannah Children’s Museum invites the public to attend Bug Fest 2019, the annual family-friendly celebration abuzz with bug crafts,...

  • Interstellar Echoes Present Pink Floyd!

    May 25, 2019
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    The Southeast's premier Pink Floyd Tribute, Interstellar Echoes, back at the Post after a sold-out concert last year, pride themselves on...

  • Franklin Pond Chamber Music Competition and Awards Concert

    May 26, 2019
    4:00 PM - 6:00 PM @ Spivey Hall

    The third annual Franklin Pond Chamber Music Competition Awards Concert on Sunday, May 26, 2019, 4 p.m. showcases Georgia’s most talented young...


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Scenes of the South

SCAD40 Block Party

SCAD celebrated their 40th anniversary with a grand block party. Fellow alumni reconnected with university faculty and staff. ShopSCAD had live artist demonstrations, live music at the Gryphon, keepsakes and SCAD40 merchandise to purchase at the Art’s Café, SCAD food trucks with tasty treats and much more.

Kessler Collection’s Armstrong-Kessler Mansion Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Local hotelier Richard Kessler and his company The Kessler Collection officially cut the ribbon on his newly restored home in Savannah, the Armstrong-Kessler Mansion. This iconic home celebrates its 100th birthday this year, and his been meticulously restored to its former grandeur as one of the foremost examples of Italian Renaissance architecture and design in America. Congratulations to Richard Kessler and The Kessler Collection!

The Clyde

The Clyde Venue is Savannah’s newest, most modern, wedding venue located in the Historic Landmark District. The space has been completely renovated, and a work in progress for more than a year. The venue is 5,200 square feet and includes a grande room, large marble bar, catering prep area, and restrooms. It’s located at 223 Martin Luther King Boulevard.

The Fire Ball

IAFF Savannah Firefighters gathered together at Savannah Station March 15th to celebrate with friends and family. They welcomed their newest members, honored those that recently retired and acknowledged departments joining from around the world! The event was a blast. From 6pm-10pm guests danced to live music, sampled premium foods and even played with local puppies up for adoption.

Savannah's Newest Hot Spot Opens

SEED Eco Lounge, Barrelhouse South and Rogue Water welcomes a new addition to the family. Vice is located on Broughton at Saya's former location. Few pursuits tap into the pleasures of nightlife more than music. Giving yourself over to the rhythms, the lights, and the energy is a total release. Amazing DJs get the crowds moving, and other patrons ensure that there's plenty to see and socialize with. This sleek and sexy underground spot is sure to be one of the best spots for Savannah's night life.

The Royal Flush Casino Night Presented by Roto-Rooter Plumbers of Savannah

Roto-Rooter Plumbers of Savannah hosted “The Royal Flush Casino Night” on Thursday, Feb. 28, at the Savannah Station, with all of the proceeds going to benefit families at the Ronald McDonald House of the Coastal Empire. The casino-themed party will feature heavy hors-d’oeuvres, an open bar, live music, dancing and complimentary casino.

The Telfair Ball

The 39th annual Telfair Ball celebrated the 200th anniversary of the remarkable architecture of Telfair Museums historic buildings and the pioneering legacy of Mary Telfair. This year the Ball was held in Forsyth Park among a myriad of carnival performers and fanciful nymphs. Hundreds of Savannah locals and many visitors came together to celebrate a love of art and South Eastern heritage. The ball supports the future of the Telfair Academy, the Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters, and the Jepson Center. Proceeds directly fund the museum's educational outreach, exhibitions, and release activities, bring the benefits of art to over 190,000 people each year.

Hearts for Healing Gala

The Faith Equestrian's Annual Hearts for Healing Gala at Tybee Wedding Chapel on Friday evening started out with a bang as the Free Spirit Orchestra' violin twins played their rendition of some of the greatest musical hits. The attendees were reminded what the event was all about as the founder Bonnie Rachael was recognized after story after story was shared to a room of teary eyed party-goers. Congrats to event director Bonnie Karr and her amazing team for a job well done!

Southern Coast Heart Ball

The American Heart Association's 22nd Annual Southern Heart Ball took place on February 2, 2019 and celebrated all the life-saving advances made so far while raising funds to continue to further AHA's mission. The black-tie gala brought together more than 400 guests to enjoy a night of dining, dancing, live entertainment and both live and silent auctions. Those in attendance got to hear the story of Lily Cochran, who was born with several congenital heart defects. Her father, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, also had a heart disease and was honored at the event.

PUTTING Away Crime

On Saturday, January 12, 2019 Savannah helped McGruff the Crime Dog take a bite out of crime at the Crimestoppers Savannah's 3rd Annual Putt Putt Mini Golf Tournament held at Island Miniature Golf and Game on Wilmington Island. Proceeds went to helping fund rewards for the Crimestopper's anonymous crime tip line.