One of Manhattan’s hottest spots, the Grey Lady, makes its way back to its Nantucket namesake this Figawi.
Walk down the right block in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and you might stumble upon a portal to Nantucket. Opened by three island summer residents, The Grey Lady on 77 Delancey Street has enjoyed wide acclaim as a slice of island living in the Big Apple. As one New York Times review put it, “With this atmosphere, the food doesn’t have to be good, but it is.” This Memorial Day weekend, the Grey Lady gang is bringing their Nantucket-inspired restaurant back to its island namesake by opening in the space of the long-defunct Bamboo Supper Club.
“The New York location is certainly more a bar focus as we tend to get busiest at night,” said co-owner Ryan Chadwick, “but Nantucket will be an equal balance of dining and bar.” Although there are plans to give the Grey Lady’s interior a complete renovation, this season the restaurant will retain much the same layout as the old Bamboo. Three bars (one in the main dining room, one on the second floor, and one on the rear patio) will anchor a seating plan for more than seventy-five guests. Antique tin ceilings have been installed along with custom sconces, with new banquettes highlighting the space. Doing the majority of the work themselves, the owners are putting their signature mark on the business. “We hire tradesmen when we have to, but we are building the tables, doing the tile and grout all ourselves,” said Ryan. “That way if something goes wrong, as things often do, we know how to fix it.”
The co-owners, who recently opened another Grey Lady location in Aspen, Colorado, have brought in Boston-based executive chef David Nevins for their Nantucket operation, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) who has worked extensively with another well-known chef on Nantucket, Todd English. Formerly the chef de cuisine at English’s “Olives” in Charlestown, David has held an array of top positions in restaurants around New England, garnering high Zagat ratings and three star reviews from both the Boston Globe and Boston Herald.
On Nantucket, Nevins’s menu will largely focus on fresh, local seafood with a price point for entrees in the mid-twenty dollar range. “We focused on the things we enjoyed from all those years here on Nantucket like lobster and Cisco beer,” said co-owner Callum McLaughlin. In addition to special touches like fresh baked lobster rolls from Wicked Island Bakery and local oysters from the new Grey Lady oyster farm (owned by Nantucket fisherman Chuck Connors), the menu will feature an array of succulent appetizers including “big belly” Maine clams, short ribs and tuna carpaccio. Entrees will include selections such as pan roasted native flounder, grilled swordfish kabobs, a tuna tartare sandwich, custom burgers and a hearty fisherman’s stew.
A rare commodity on Nantucket, the restaurant will feature an array of cocktails on tap, including a signature Moscow mule. The partners even plan to have former Bamboo proprietor Shannon Haddon guest bartend during this inaugural season. Chadwick said he and his friends believe their brand will speak for itself at the mid-island locale. “New York City isn’t an easy place to do business, so we feel like we got our feet wet in the right place,” said Ryan Chadwick. “We’ve all spent a lot of time here on Nantucket and really hope that this restaurant ends up being our flagship location.”