In 2011, Carmine Street's beloved coffee shop and hole-in-the-wall eatery The Grey Dog closed its doors. It wasn't for lack of divine homemade breads or pesto-smeared veggie burgers, or even breakfast sandwiches stuffed with eggs and chicken-apple sausage. It was simply because rent in the Village is truly damn high.
But one day last year, there was a sign on a dusty window a few doors down from the original Carmine Street location. It was from Grey Dog with the announcement, "We're coming home." And on March 26, Grey Dog (49 Carmine St., 212-462-0041) returned to the block.
In the mornings, some drop in for a rich cup of coffee. Others grab a newspaper and perch at a high-top table. Some just stop in to stare wide-eyed at the massive menu. On a recent visit, a messy Ashton Kutcher look-alike served me my poached eggs. They came with crisp salty home fries and cranberry walnut bread that was as light as challah.
For lunch and dinner, there are chopped vegetable salads and macaroni and cheese; sour apple and brie sandwiches made on a Cuban press and a selection of wine and beer.
It's all low maintenance. You get your own utensils and small container of Heinz from a stand in the back corner. You pour yourself some water in a plastic cup. You even wait in line, because, simply put, it's worth it.
The atmosphere is warm and convivial. It's perpetually sunny, even if it's storming outdoors. With its exposed brick, soothing music, effortlessly cool staff of beautiful misfits and it's comforting (if not a touch bougie) fare, it's as if The Grey Dog never left. And let's hope it's here to stay.
Ariel Kanter is an editor at Gilt City.