When First Avenue bar Moose McDuffy’s closed after a fire at Riley’s Cafe next door in September 2016, the owners thought they would be able to reopen in a few weeks. The bar, a longtime mainstay on First Avenue, mostly just sustained smoke damage.
But when the pervasive smoke smell turned out to be a much harder issue to mitigate than they originally thought, they ended up gutting much of the space. It turned into a chance to redecorate and revamp the bar.
On Sept. 7, about a year after closing, the site reopened with a new look and a new name, Grey’s Pub.
“They just kind of wanted a fresh start,” general manager Mike Hachey said.
But that doesn’t mean the new bar is totally different from the old Moose McDuffy’s. Patrons will recognize some familiar faces behind the bar. Owners Wayne Winn, Clayton Parks and Charles Abraham brought on longtime employee Terra Heaton, who has been working at the bar for around 15 years, as a partner.
A popcorn machine still sits in one corner, but the building rehab included a major addition; they added kitchen space, so patrons can now order from a full menu.
The menu features sandwiches, burgers, salads and appetizers, many named in tribute of “Grey’s Anatomy” characters. Diners can munch on Avery’s Classic Grilled Cheese or Burke’s BLT. The McDreamy Martini tops the drink menu.
Those tributes play off the bar’s name, which references the popular television medical drama. It seemed an appropriate moniker in the Cedar Rapids MedQuarter, Hachey said, with UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital and Mercy Medical Center nearby.
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Grey’s Pub offers a 10 percent discount from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for anyone who works in a medical field.
“I think it’s important. I don’t think they get enough credit in general,” Hachey said. “It was important to everyone involved to embrace the quarter.”
Interacting with customers, whether nurses or doctors stopping in for lunch or longtime regulars coming in for happy hour, is Hachey’s favorite part of the job.
“A lot of people’s best moments are with you. Whether it’s their birthday, they got a promotion, a going away party — a lot of people’s celebrations are at bars, and I get to see that,” he said.
WHAT: Grey’s Pub
WHERE: 836 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids
HOURS: 11 a.m. to midnight Monday and Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday
DETAILS: (319) 365-1149, Greyscr.com