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Food & Drink

Gray’s, Formerly the Loring Bar & Restaurant, Is Closing

Bye-bye, beloved artichoke dip.

Em Cassel

Less than two years after Gray’s made its Dinkytown debut, the restaurant has announced it’s the end.

“It’s with a mixture of sadness and celebration that we announce Gray’s will be closing in July,” the team wrote on Instagram over the weekend. “We loved being part of this community for the last five years, bringing you delicious food, music, and memories, and we’re going to miss what we’ve built together.”

Gray’s only opened in December of 2020, but before its pandemic pivot to a grab-and-go, student-friendly cafe, it was the Loring Bar & Restaurant for a few years, and the Loring Pasta Bar for many years before that. The place was operated by the same staff members who came together and took over the building back in 2017, after former owner/alleged sex criminal Jason McLean fled to Mexico and new owners abruptly laid off the whole staff overnight.

(If you’re curious, we outlined more of the Loring’s whole wacky history here.)

We visited Gray’s in Dinkytown back in October and liked it—definitely more of a “students studying” vibe than its predecessor, but the all-day-cafe vibe worked well for the space. (And, crucially, they kept the famous artichoke dip.)

As for what comes next: Gray’s will keep the lights on for the next few weeks, with live music from July 8-10 and 14-17, after which point it will officially close. But it sounds like Loring Catering and Events will carry on in the space, meaning… hopefully that shabbily beautiful, historic, Bob-Dylan-housing building will remain intact for years to come?

“We thank our amazing staff for their loyalty and hard work,” Gray’s farewell post concludes. “We thank our incredible customers—our regulars, our irregulars, the dancers, the beautiful freaks, the lovers, the maestros, the muses—and all our friends who made this place the heart of Dinkytown.”

In other closing news, both Pie & Mighty and Bunny’s NE called it quits in “effective immediately” style over the weekend.