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Black, White, and the Grey: The Story of an Unexpected Friendship and a Beloved Restaurant

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A story about the trials and triumphs of a Black chef from Queens, New York, and a White media entrepreneur from Staten Island who built a relationship and a restaurant in the Deep South, hoping to bridge biases and get people talking about race, gender, class, and culture. In this dual memoir, Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano take turns telling how they went from tentat A story about the trials and triumphs of a Black chef from Queens, New York, and a White media entrepreneur from Staten Island who built a relationship and a restaurant in the Deep South, hoping to bridge biases and get people talking about race, gender, class, and culture. In this dual memoir, Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano take turns telling how they went from tentative business partners to dear friends while turning a dilapidated formerly segregated Greyhound bus station into The Grey, now one of the most celebrated restaurants in the country. Recounting the trying process of building their restaurant business, they examine their most painful and joyous times, revealing how they came to understand their differences, recognize their biases, and continuously challenge themselves and each other to be better. Through it all, Bailey and Morisano display the uncommon vulnerability, humor, and humanity that anchor their relationship, showing how two citizens commit to playing their own small part in advancing equality against a backdrop of racism.


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A story about the trials and triumphs of a Black chef from Queens, New York, and a White media entrepreneur from Staten Island who built a relationship and a restaurant in the Deep South, hoping to bridge biases and get people talking about race, gender, class, and culture. In this dual memoir, Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano take turns telling how they went from tentat A story about the trials and triumphs of a Black chef from Queens, New York, and a White media entrepreneur from Staten Island who built a relationship and a restaurant in the Deep South, hoping to bridge biases and get people talking about race, gender, class, and culture. In this dual memoir, Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano take turns telling how they went from tentative business partners to dear friends while turning a dilapidated formerly segregated Greyhound bus station into The Grey, now one of the most celebrated restaurants in the country. Recounting the trying process of building their restaurant business, they examine their most painful and joyous times, revealing how they came to understand their differences, recognize their biases, and continuously challenge themselves and each other to be better. Through it all, Bailey and Morisano display the uncommon vulnerability, humor, and humanity that anchor their relationship, showing how two citizens commit to playing their own small part in advancing equality against a backdrop of racism.

30 review for Black, White, and the Grey: The Story of an Unexpected Friendship and a Beloved Restaurant

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)

    Business partners Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano look back on their journey to create The Grey, a successful southern restaurant in the heart of Savannah, Georgia with this dual memoir. Johno walks us through his initial discovery of a dilapidated Greyhound bus station, his idea to start a restaurant, and his search for the right business partner/executive chef. Together they share their candid thoughts on each other, aspects of both their business and personal relationship, the awkward and Business partners Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano look back on their journey to create The Grey, a successful southern restaurant in the heart of Savannah, Georgia with this dual memoir. Johno walks us through his initial discovery of a dilapidated Greyhound bus station, his idea to start a restaurant, and his search for the right business partner/executive chef. Together they share their candid thoughts on each other, aspects of both their business and personal relationship, the awkward and sometimes painful biases that challenge them to communicate better, their vision for The Grey, and how they are working to advance equality. I also like that each chapter ended with a recipe (several of which I plan to try!) I really enjoyed the format of this memoir; it reads as a conversation between the authors (Bailey’s words are in bold throughout to easily differentiate) and it’s insightful, honest, and surprisingly vulnerable. Both Bailey and Morisano discuss their experiences and the complications of an interracial friendship/partnership, never dancing around the fact that it takes effort and willingness to understand and express on both parts. I highly recommend Black, White, and The Grey to readers who appreciate memoir, food writing, and honest conversations about race, gender, and culture. Special thanks to Grovetown Library for purchasing a copy for their collection at my request. For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sharila

    Black, White, and The Grey: The Story of an Unexpected Friendship and a Beloved Restaurant is a new book written by Chef Mashama Bailey and Johno Morisano of The Grey in Savannah, Georgia. The pair share the story behind their award winning restaurant. I have to admit, when I first saw the title and premise of this book, I was concerned. A Black chef and white investor cowriting their experience of opening a restaurant together in the South? I was sure it would be some kind of kumbaya, food and l Black, White, and The Grey: The Story of an Unexpected Friendship and a Beloved Restaurant is a new book written by Chef Mashama Bailey and Johno Morisano of The Grey in Savannah, Georgia. The pair share the story behind their award winning restaurant. I have to admit, when I first saw the title and premise of this book, I was concerned. A Black chef and white investor cowriting their experience of opening a restaurant together in the South? I was sure it would be some kind of kumbaya, food and laughter unites us. 2021’s nonfiction version of The Help. Boy was I wrong. I fell in love with the book–and Bailey’s unapologetic Blackness–on page 150, when Italian-American Morisano poses a question during their first trip to Savannah: “By the way, what does your name–Mashama–mean? How’d you get it?” Mashama laughed a little bit, explaining, “My dad was definitely a little bit Black Power in the 1970s. My parents gave us all African names…‘Mashama’ means ‘surprise’…” “That’s cool,” I said, admittedly not having any real understanding of what Black power was. And then, Mashama added, “Johno, you should know something as we get into this.” “What’s that?” “I’m a little Black Power too.” This exchange between Bailey and Morisano captures the essence of the novel: race matters, always. It underlines our interactions, paths, and feelings about ourselves. And in dialogues of racial “reconciliation”, Black people carry the load of teaching and understanding while waiting for well-meaning white people to catch up. Bailey and Morisano’s story is much more than one of an interracial friendship between successful restaurateurs. It is a testimony to the depth of work America must undertake if there will ever be racial equity. Black people cannot be added as a postscript to the country we built. It is not enough to give us a seat at the table or a chef title in a building we were once excluded from. The systems must be remade in a way that fully include us. The entire structure has to be rebuilt. This is the only way we–Black and white people–can be true partners. If I do say myself, Mashama, I’m a little Black Power too. The Verdict: Black, White, and The Grey: The Story of an Unexpected Friendship and a Beloved Restaurant is a fantastic book. I devoured it in two days. I was so interested in the dynamic between Bailey and Morisano as well as what really goes into opening a restaurant. The social relevance of it all is evident, and the recipes, particularly the Chicken Schnitzel in White BBQ Sauce and the Spicy Peanut Chocolate Parfait, are delicious. I can’t wait to visit Savannah and The Grey one day, to experience the storied history and taste Chef Mashama Bailey’s food. The full length review is posted at https://thediasporicdish.com/the-grey....

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mom2nine

    This book reads as though one is sitting with the two authors and listening to their stories and memories. It flows easily and is interesting on many levels. Morisano dares to question the race divide, particularly in the South. He tells his story about opening a restaurant in a historical bus station. When he decided to open his business, he notices that the city is still segregated and questions the reasons. With an open heart, he decides that he wants his business partner to be a black female This book reads as though one is sitting with the two authors and listening to their stories and memories. It flows easily and is interesting on many levels. Morisano dares to question the race divide, particularly in the South. He tells his story about opening a restaurant in a historical bus station. When he decided to open his business, he notices that the city is still segregated and questions the reasons. With an open heart, he decides that he wants his business partner to be a black female. The story continues from there, showing what may be learned when one steps out of his comfort zone and questions how others view the world. Book received through goodreads

  4. 4 out of 5

    Karen Parisot

    Timely and inspiring story of two people, one a white man, the other a black woman and the business they built together and the enduring friendship they developed in the the process. It is the story of Savannah’s highly regarded restaurant, The Grey, and the vision of the two people who created it. Most of the story is related by Johno. He was the first to move to Savannah and he found the old segregation era Greyhound terminal abandoned since 1964. The book alternates between the two voices of Timely and inspiring story of two people, one a white man, the other a black woman and the business they built together and the enduring friendship they developed in the the process. It is the story of Savannah’s highly regarded restaurant, The Grey, and the vision of the two people who created it. Most of the story is related by Johno. He was the first to move to Savannah and he found the old segregation era Greyhound terminal abandoned since 1964. The book alternates between the two voices of Johno and Mashama, with Mashama’s highlighted in bold print. There are recipes too, one at the end of each chapter. I thought this was a great book. It tells of all the work and setbacks that go into starting and running a business. More importantly though it tells the story of Johno and Mashama; their backgrounds, their difficulties in forging a partnership, how they became the best of friends, how they built trust. It’s a remarkable and heartening story. It has been awhile since I’ve been to Savannah, next time I’m there I’m definitely going to The Grey.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kathy (Bermudaonion)

    4.25 Johno Morisano bought the old Greyhound bus station in Savannah, Georgia and, with no experience in the hospitality industry, decided he needed to make it into a restaurant. When it was time to find a chef, he felt they were all the same - white men with cutlery tattoos - but he wanted something different for this restaurant. He decided a black female chef was called for and hunted until he found Mashama Bailey. The pair have had their trials and tribulations but have forged a strong partner 4.25 Johno Morisano bought the old Greyhound bus station in Savannah, Georgia and, with no experience in the hospitality industry, decided he needed to make it into a restaurant. When it was time to find a chef, he felt they were all the same - white men with cutlery tattoos - but he wanted something different for this restaurant. He decided a black female chef was called for and hunted until he found Mashama Bailey. The pair have had their trials and tribulations but have forged a strong partnership and friendship along the way all the while addressing their feelings on race and culture. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and admired Morisano and Bailey’s honesty. I loved reading about the restaurant and the way their relationship evolved. As a bonus, there are several recipes included in the book. The authors narrate the audio version and both do a great job. If you enjoy foodie books or memoirs, you’ll want to pick this one up.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karim

    Powerful. When we talk about equity and race in this nation there’s no clearer example of the mistrust, bias and the work that needs to be done than the examples laid out in this book. That a Black female chef from NYC could cook and head up a kitchen in a historical space where (in the 60s) she would have been made to enter through the side door highlights the many of challenges stacked in this book. There is some tragedy, as well as frank discussions of race, bias and how neighborhoods—specifi Powerful. When we talk about equity and race in this nation there’s no clearer example of the mistrust, bias and the work that needs to be done than the examples laid out in this book. That a Black female chef from NYC could cook and head up a kitchen in a historical space where (in the 60s) she would have been made to enter through the side door highlights the many of challenges stacked in this book. There is some tragedy, as well as frank discussions of race, bias and how neighborhoods—specifically Black ones—are segregated even to this day. Among the many pluses of this book you’ll find great kitchen stories, RECIPES! and the story of how two people who couldn’t be any more different came together and became friends. Highly recommend!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    Black, White, and the Grey by Mashama Bailey & John O. Morisano is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late January. Each restaurateur finding worth in themselves and what they cook, and each contributing their work to combine within their Savannah restaurant, The Grey, and this well-thought-over, strong, nearly-dialogue book. It's chapters of moments that Mashama and John share, followed by a simple recipe, and it's so easy to like, so easy to see yourself within the story, and to empathize. Black, White, and the Grey by Mashama Bailey & John O. Morisano is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late January. Each restaurateur finding worth in themselves and what they cook, and each contributing their work to combine within their Savannah restaurant, The Grey, and this well-thought-over, strong, nearly-dialogue book. It's chapters of moments that Mashama and John share, followed by a simple recipe, and it's so easy to like, so easy to see yourself within the story, and to empathize.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alisa

    3.5 but rounding up

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amy Rene

    I live in Savannah and love The Grey. I pre-ordered this book sometime ago, thinking it would be a nice little memoir about the experiences of the founders opening the restaurant. It is anything but! Instead it’s an amazingly timely and brutally honest story about civil rights, social justice and two people with different racial backgrounds and experiences learning to work through all the minutia of their biracial partnership. A simply breathtaking piece of work about learning to come together i I live in Savannah and love The Grey. I pre-ordered this book sometime ago, thinking it would be a nice little memoir about the experiences of the founders opening the restaurant. It is anything but! Instead it’s an amazingly timely and brutally honest story about civil rights, social justice and two people with different racial backgrounds and experiences learning to work through all the minutia of their biracial partnership. A simply breathtaking piece of work about learning to come together in times of need to make a mark on our amazing community and hopefully the rest of the US. Highly recommend!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Abby

    Written by the owners of The Grey restaurant in Savannah, GA, this book dives into race, gender, class and culture. A Black chef from Queens and a White media entrepreneur from Staten Island write this dual memoir based on their partnership in creation of one of the most celebrated restaurants in the country, and through it all their understanding of each other’s differences, biases, and the challenge to continuously be better and do better. There is humor, vulnerability, fun times, and devastati Written by the owners of The Grey restaurant in Savannah, GA, this book dives into race, gender, class and culture. A Black chef from Queens and a White media entrepreneur from Staten Island write this dual memoir based on their partnership in creation of one of the most celebrated restaurants in the country, and through it all their understanding of each other’s differences, biases, and the challenge to continuously be better and do better. There is humor, vulnerability, fun times, and devastating days written in both of their differing perspectives. It’s almost like you’re hearing two friends recount their history together as it switches between John and Mashama’s writing almost every paragraph. This also means that they get very open and personal about the race and class divide in the South and the deep history that still echoes into modern day. It's heart wrenching and eye-opening. And…THERE ARE RECIPES SCATTERED ALL OVER THIS BOOK! It’s amazing and adds a personal touch to the book – like you’re sitting in their restaurant, listening to two old friends and business partners talk, while eating delicious food and getting all the tips and tricks to what’s inside – both the food and in their relationship.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Haider

    Staten Island born John O. Morisano (better known as Johno to his family and friends) worked his way from working class to fairly well off. His work was not related to restaurants, yet he winds up buying an old Greyhound bus station in Savannah, GA and dreams of turning it into a restaurant. He ends up partnering with chef Mashama Bailey, who was also living in NYC at the time. This book is written by both Johno and Mashama in a kind of alternating dialog. We hear about how Johno went about sear Staten Island born John O. Morisano (better known as Johno to his family and friends) worked his way from working class to fairly well off. His work was not related to restaurants, yet he winds up buying an old Greyhound bus station in Savannah, GA and dreams of turning it into a restaurant. He ends up partnering with chef Mashama Bailey, who was also living in NYC at the time. This book is written by both Johno and Mashama in a kind of alternating dialog. We hear about how Johno went about searching for the right chef to partner with, how Johno and Mashama met and how they went about creating the restaurant The Grey. This was an interesting book that not only was about food but also touched on race in America. There is a lot of discussion about how while Savannah is a diverse city, people of different races there are pretty segregated with where they live and work. Johno and Mashama hoped to make The Grey a place where all races would feel welcome. I found it interesting seeing the dynamic between these two writers. Each chapter ended with a recipe from Johno or Mashama. I recommend this to fans of food writing with a side of social commentary. Thank you to the publisher for the review copy.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alicia (PrettyBrownEyeReader)

    I first heard of Chef Mashama Bailey on the Netflix show, Chef’s Table. I found her story intriguing. She was raised in the Bronx and had ties to Georgia. She returns to the South to partner in opening a restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. In this book, Chef Bailey and her business partner, John O. Morisano reveal how they began their partnership and give a glimpse into their pasts. The book opens with a horrific incident that initially thought was an odd choice for the beginning of a book about the I first heard of Chef Mashama Bailey on the Netflix show, Chef’s Table. I found her story intriguing. She was raised in the Bronx and had ties to Georgia. She returns to the South to partner in opening a restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. In this book, Chef Bailey and her business partner, John O. Morisano reveal how they began their partnership and give a glimpse into their pasts. The book opens with a horrific incident that initially thought was an odd choice for the beginning of a book about the restaurant business. But as the book unfolds, the incident helps illuminate the differences in race, gender and upbringing of the partners. The incident also helps frame the business and personal philosophy each of the partners wanted to bring to their business. I listened to the audio version of the book which was read by the authors. It was great to hear their emotions as they read the book. The drawback of the audio is that there are recipes at the end of each chapter. Having the authors read the recipes is fine but a print copy would be best for the recipes. Those who enjoy food related memoirs, business narratives and Southern culture will enjoy this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brooklyn

    Good book about the process of starting a restaurant with the subtopic (or perhaps main topic) of racism in America and particularly in Savannah and the “new South”. Great recipes at the end of every chapter (made the chicken wings - delish!). Originally meant to be the memoir of restaurant The Grey owner John Morisano (“Johnno”) After a suggestion from his editor and friends - was in later drafts including commentary by head chef and business partner Mashama Bailey (now superstar). Which just a Good book about the process of starting a restaurant with the subtopic (or perhaps main topic) of racism in America and particularly in Savannah and the “new South”. Great recipes at the end of every chapter (made the chicken wings - delish!). Originally meant to be the memoir of restaurant The Grey owner John Morisano (“Johnno”) After a suggestion from his editor and friends - was in later drafts including commentary by head chef and business partner Mashama Bailey (now superstar). Which just about makes this book. John Morisano comes off as not a little douche-y arrogance and Mashama reels him in and brings this memoir back to earth. How a white Italian guy from Staten Island teams up with a black woman chef from Queens to buy and restore a former segregated bus terminal in the south and Savannah and turn it into a wildly popular and even breakthrough landmark restaurant -The Grey. As the authors note - Mashama got to be the head chef of an establishment she would not have been able to walk in the front door 50 years before. That is remarkable. Lost a few stars from John Morisano’s lackluster at times narrative as stirring as the story is. Mashama Bailey is everything.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lillie

    I received an advanced copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways. I first became aware of Mashama Bailey and The Grey through an episode of Chef's Table. I was very interested in her approach to cooking and the history of The Grey, and knew I wanted to read this book when I saw it available as a giveaway. This could have easily been another light book about starting a restaurant and the difficulties that any new restaurant owners face. But Bailey and John Morisano directly confront race - as I received an advanced copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways. I first became aware of Mashama Bailey and The Grey through an episode of Chef's Table. I was very interested in her approach to cooking and the history of The Grey, and knew I wanted to read this book when I saw it available as a giveaway. This could have easily been another light book about starting a restaurant and the difficulties that any new restaurant owners face. But Bailey and John Morisano directly confront race - as a black woman and white man, the history of the restaurant's building, and their roles in the restaurant industry. Morisano takes the lead through much of the book, but Bailey provides much-needed perspective. At the end of each chapter is a recipe, often directly mentioned in the chapter. I made the Chicken Schnitzel with White BBQ Sauce, a recipe Bailey auditioned with. I would rate it a 4.5/5 - the chicken schnitzel was fantastic and pretty easy to prepare, the white BBQ sauce was good but not my personal preference. I think the richness of the chicken could have benefited from a little more acid or heat - next time I would pair with a hot sauce.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lainie

    Black, White, and the Grey is the story of Johno and Mashama and how they opened a famous restaurant in a renovated Greyhound bus terminal in Savannah. This is a true story, and the voices are interwoven throughout the book but identified separately. Johnno's writing is in plain type, and Mashama's in bold. Johnno is the moneyman behind the deal - a white kid from Staten Island. Masham is his partner and the chef, a black woman from Queens. The story begins with a traumatic event involving the r Black, White, and the Grey is the story of Johno and Mashama and how they opened a famous restaurant in a renovated Greyhound bus terminal in Savannah. This is a true story, and the voices are interwoven throughout the book but identified separately. Johnno's writing is in plain type, and Mashama's in bold. Johnno is the moneyman behind the deal - a white kid from Staten Island. Masham is his partner and the chef, a black woman from Queens. The story begins with a traumatic event involving the restaurant's FOH manager and then flashes back through the development and evolution of the project. I thought this was an interesting way to tell the story, and it definitely helped the reader to see both points of view. I found the book very challenging to "get into" but once I was about 1/3-1/2 way through it became more compelling. It's a different take on how people of different backgrounds and races can work together. Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    When I saw this book in my mail, I was excited about reading it. I loved the cover, and it displayed a look into the making of a restaurant using a former segregated bus station that was lovingly restored with some initial mistakes that couldn't be reversed, sadly. This book covers race, gender, class, and culture. This memoir is unique in that we get a dual perspective in the relationship between an entrepreneur and a chef before, during, after the opening of The Grey. It explored their differe When I saw this book in my mail, I was excited about reading it. I loved the cover, and it displayed a look into the making of a restaurant using a former segregated bus station that was lovingly restored with some initial mistakes that couldn't be reversed, sadly. This book covers race, gender, class, and culture. This memoir is unique in that we get a dual perspective in the relationship between an entrepreneur and a chef before, during, after the opening of The Grey. It explored their differences, their emotions, their struggles, and the tragic loss of a beloved employee. I hadn't ever thought about what went into the making of a restaurant. It's not something to be taken lightly. A few recipes were sprinkled throughout at the end of each chapter. My favorite is the Sunday Gravy. I've received a free copy from Ten Speed Press in exchange for a free and unbiased review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    This book recounts the partnership of John O. Morisano and Mashama Bailey, as they establish a restaurant known as The Grey, in a former segregated bus station in Savannah Georgia. Morisano wrote the initial text, with Bailey responding to what he wrote. The normal stresses of opening a restaurant, in addition to the usual construction and menu issues, were complicated by coming to terms with racial and gender issues. A lot of the writing leans toward stream of consciousness, and didn’t flow esp This book recounts the partnership of John O. Morisano and Mashama Bailey, as they establish a restaurant known as The Grey, in a former segregated bus station in Savannah Georgia. Morisano wrote the initial text, with Bailey responding to what he wrote. The normal stresses of opening a restaurant, in addition to the usual construction and menu issues, were complicated by coming to terms with racial and gender issues. A lot of the writing leans toward stream of consciousness, and didn’t flow especially well. I think I would have liked it better if I were familiar with Savannah and the restaurant. Towards the end there is a section where they describe and pay homage to many of their employees, who are not mentioned elsewhere in the book, so it seems targeted toward the insiders. And despite trying not to, Morisano seems like a bit of a mansplainer.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    Mashama Bailey is all you need. She gets 5 stars. But this is a 'co-authored' book--I say co-authored in quotes because even after re-fashioning, it still reads to me as a book by the investor with some responses from the chef. I wanted the bulk of the writing to have more pizazz and culling, and the 'Friendship' in the title--that didn't really come across in the writing to me. I don't like to give one-star reviews, but this book offered me nothing I hadn't already gleaned from a few articles an Mashama Bailey is all you need. She gets 5 stars. But this is a 'co-authored' book--I say co-authored in quotes because even after re-fashioning, it still reads to me as a book by the investor with some responses from the chef. I wanted the bulk of the writing to have more pizazz and culling, and the 'Friendship' in the title--that didn't really come across in the writing to me. I don't like to give one-star reviews, but this book offered me nothing I hadn't already gleaned from a few articles and interviews. I was hoping to hear about some of the investor's learnings and humbling of the person in privilege. Instead, it read to me like, once again, the Black woman was put in a position of having to explain things about racism.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    UPDATE: I WAS APPROVED!!! Date reviewed/posted: January 12, 2021 and January 23, 2021 Publication date: January 12, 2021 When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you are continuing to #maskup and #lockdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave is upon us, AND the worst sciatica attack in your life means you MIGHT sleep 3 hours a night, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested a DIGITA UPDATE: I WAS APPROVED!!! Date reviewed/posted: January 12, 2021 and January 23, 2021 Publication date: January 12, 2021 When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you are continuing to #maskup and #lockdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave is upon us, AND the worst sciatica attack in your life means you MIGHT sleep 3 hours a night, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review but I have yet to hear if I was approved. I am reviewing the book anyway on Goodreads and Facebook as I already have read the book thanks to a friend. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. A story about the trials and triumphs of a Black chef from Queens, New York, and a White media entrepreneur from Staten Island who built a relationship and a restaurant in the Deep South, hoping to bridge biases and get people talking about race, gender, class, and culture. In this dual memoir, Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano take turns telling how they went from tentative business partners to dear friends while turning a dilapidated formerly segregated Greyhound bus station into The Grey, now one of the most celebrated restaurants in the country. Recounting the trying process of building their restaurant business, they examine their most painful and joyous times, revealing how they came to understand their differences, recognize their biases, and continuously challenge themselves and each other to be better. Through it all, Bailey and Morisano display the uncommon vulnerability, humour, and humanity that anchor their relationship, showing how two citizens commit to playing their own small part in advancing equality against a backdrop of racism. This is a beautiful book that is needed at this time of strife and racial unrest. It is wonderfully written and I wish that I could cross the border and go and eat there...and that the restaurant has survived the COVID19 lockdowns. It is funny and heartwarming and NOT 100% a cookbook, - it is a book about a cook and friendship and an overall lovely read. Yes, there are lots of recipes, (I now want me some dirty rice!) but this is more of a love letter to food with a side of some amazing food.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Connie Wilson

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Book was a good read & great recipes - would loved to have seen more. Until the last several pages when an employee/ member of management was caught up in gang violence by accident & murdered. Preaching at the reader, made political, about racism, the man is keeping you down instead of taking responsibility for yourself & behavior. The writers need to look inside & fix their own racism before preaching at others

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jana

    I wanted to like this book more. I was interested in the story, and the creation of a restaurant that is the collaboration of a white man and a black woman. I liked how the book was written, a back and forth between the two authors in different fonts. In the end however, I found the writing to be a bit boring. I couldn't really get into it. Just not that engaging. A good story, but the writing fell flat for me. I wanted to like this book more. I was interested in the story, and the creation of a restaurant that is the collaboration of a white man and a black woman. I liked how the book was written, a back and forth between the two authors in different fonts. In the end however, I found the writing to be a bit boring. I couldn't really get into it. Just not that engaging. A good story, but the writing fell flat for me.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aly Medina

    I really liked this book with the exception of two things: 1) I didn’t find Johno likable at all. It might not matter, but he bugged me. 2) They are both really terrible narrators. I still listened to the whole thing because I freaking love Mashama and found the story compelling. But wow, they should have hired voice actors.

  23. 5 out of 5

    L H

    An important book to read now re contemporary racial issues. Somewhat egocentric (on both author's roles) but I believe honest. Reads quickly. A note on the book's format: I liked the presentation of two views but those of Mashama were sometimes hard to read because of the typeface used. Good light and good eyes needed. An important book to read now re contemporary racial issues. Somewhat egocentric (on both author's roles) but I believe honest. Reads quickly. A note on the book's format: I liked the presentation of two views but those of Mashama were sometimes hard to read because of the typeface used. Good light and good eyes needed.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Truly loved this story, and the way it was written...I have loved eating at The Grey and now look forward to returning even more...a tribute to friendship, to a commitment to improving racial relations amongst friends and community, and a lovesong to Savannah.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    This is more a story of Black & White with the Grey providing a back drop. Overly wordy account of how a black woman & white man become partners in a restaurant in Savannah, GA with lots of discussions about racism.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Really enjoyed. Interesting mixture of topics wrapped in the creation of a restaurant. Hope to visit some day.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jackson Matthews

    not as heartbreaking as Heartburn, and with recipes just as nice. It is nice to hear different points of view.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Lovely book! I quite enjoyed the dual perspectives shared on forming a business partnership.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Csimplot Simplot

    Excellent book!!!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Margery Osborne

    Interesting way to write this and an interesting concept--intertwining the voices with the tale of the restaurant *and* the racial aspect

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