When you step inside The Grey Dog, your first reaction may be to step out. This place will most likely be teeming with people, have a line for for placing orders, few if any tables available and loud. Why should you stay and why would I recommend it? Because the food is very good. And once you've settled in, the mayhem recedes as you focus on your meal. You start thinking - this place is not that bad once you staked out your territory. What was annoying starts feeling like exuberant festiveness. Everyone seems happy and life is good.
Finding casual places to eat with no table service and good food is not easy anywhere. The Grey Dog is technically a coffeehouse and they are known for their coffee. However, the food menu is quite extensive - ideal for breakfast, brunch or lunch but I have had dinner here as well. The prices may appear a tad high for the type of place, but the portions are large, typically with sides and made with high quality ingredients. The atmosphere is cozy, woodsy, New England with nautical accents - oars above the windows and a row of buoys outdoors below the front window. More photos here. When the weather is warm, the front windows are open and a table there is quite pleasant. A wooden bench outdoors provides a place for customers as well as passersby to rest or eat, a good spot for dog spotting.
Don't be daunted by the lines - they move more quickly than expected. Place your order at the counter, grab a table and when your order is ready someone will come out, call your name and deliver your food. And through some miracle, you always seem to get a seat ...
NOTE: The Grey Dog was created in 1996. It was named after Moose and Goose, the owners' two labrador retrievers, one white the other black. The location in the photo is the original at 33 Carmine Street in the Village. A second location recently opened at 90 University Place.