After the opening of chef Mashama Bailey and Johno Morsiano’s first-ever Austin restaurant and shop, the Grey Market, in March, the business partners and co-founders quickly opened their second Texas restaurant in the same Thompson hotel, the Diner Bar, in April. Both restaurants are found in the Thompson Austin Hotel at 501 Brazos Street.
Similar to the Grey Market and the Savannah restaurants, the new lobby restaurant focuses on Savannah’s Port City and Southern roots, but with Texas influences and touches. The menu is slightly fancier than its counterpart, offering items like foie gras and grits with a strawberry mostarda and onion gravy; seafood boudin with potato salad; lamb crepinettes; and shrimp with Carolina gold rice, ham, and peas. There are also raw and roasted oysters, and snacks like fried ugali (an African staple) and Savannah red rice balls. Breakfast will be added later, with dishes such as chicken and waffles, smoked sturgeon, and smoked corned beef hash.
For drinks, there’s an array of wines, beers, cocktails both classic, such as the Vieux Carre, and original ones, like the Graffiti Park 15 made with vodka, Aperol, and egg whites), and an emphasis on vodkas. The horseshoe-shaped bar features a raw oyster and vodka display.
Bailey and Morisano opened their original restaurant, the Grey, in Savannah in 2014. Then, in 2018, Bailey won a James Beard Award in the best chef: Southeast category. Currently, she’s a finalist in the outstanding chef category in this year’s awards.
Diner Bar’s daily hours are from 4 to 10 p.m., and dinner begins at 5 p.m.