The Grey Dog has fetched its way into Chelsea with a new opening on West 16th Street, near Eighth Avenue. The creation of brothers Dave Ethan and Pete Adrian, the Grey Dog’s Coffee is a cozy restaurant-coffeeshop, kind of like your mother’s kitchen if your mother was young, artsy, and liked everything from Bob Dylan to Jay-Z. The opening in Chelsea is the third in the city (the first being on Carmine Street in the West Village, the second on University Place), which has led some folks to speculate: Are they becoming a chain? “Not at all,” Dave explains, trying to dispel fears as he answers some questions about the new store and the famed “Michigan Sandwiches.”
What drew you to open a Grey Dog in Chelsea?
We looked at a bunch of neighborhoods in the city, and people in Chelsea seemed really happy. We wanted it to be in a place where people had smiles on their faces.
Grey Dog Carmine has a loyal local following, and Grey Dog University is catered to the student crowd. How do you see Grey Dog fitting into Chelsea?
Chelsea is what Carmine Street was 10 years ago. It’s filled with moderate, youngish people who would enjoy our place.
Will there be anything about Grey Dog Chelsea that’s new or different?
It’s pretty sexy. It’s a really beautiful location, about twice the size of our University shop, and three times the size of the one on Carmine.
One of the charms of Grey Dog is its one-of-a-kind feel. Are you afraid of losing that charm now that there are three locations?
Not at all, because we share the same staff. The people I try to hire are the same people you would want to bring home to mom and dad. Everyone works at every store, so it’s all the same people shoveling back and forth, and I’m at all three locations every day. We have the same chef at all three places, and the menus are exactly the same. I’m 100 percent sure it’s not going to lose its charm.
Are you becoming a chain?
We don’t really have that vision–a chain has never been the idea. Our lease is coming due at Carmine and our shop in Chelsea was insurance in case the landlord didn’t come through. We needed to make sure we had something if the landlord was going to be disagreeable–that’s why we opened Chelsea. We don’t want to say goodbye to Carmine.
Why are your sandwiches called “The Michigan Collection”?
My brother Pete went to the University of Michigan, and a lot of what he brought with him from Michigan is incorporated into our shop. That’s one story. The other story is that when we first opened, we used to change the name a lot. We started with New Hampshire and then Vermont sandwiches. We were having fun not thinking anything would come of it. Eventually, I turned to my brother and said, “We’re getting too old to climb our asses up there” to change the chalk boards, and it happened to be Michigan on the board at the time. So without trying, it kind of became a Michigan Wolverines destination and took on a life of its own.
The Grey Dog Chelsea
242 West 16th Street