The ‘Pragmatist’ and the ‘Dreamer’: How These Bartending Brothers Became NJ Restaurateurs

Dan and Joey Grey know how Jersey likes to dine out.

Bothers Dan and Joey Grey sit at a table for two
Brothers and entrepreneurs Dan (left) and Joey Grey grew up in a family of eight kids. Photo: Courtesy of Briana Grey

Many Jersey dining spots claim mom-and-pop or family ownership. But not many are run by siblings. In recognition of National Brother’s Day—actually an international holiday, on May 24—we got to know Upper Saddle River natives Dan and Joey Grey, who co-own multiple eateries in North Jersey and beyond.

NJM: Bros, what places have your stamp on them?
Dan: I’m 38 and nine years older than Joey, so I started the business. In Hoboken, I own Saku, Grand Vin Kitchen & Bar and Green Rock Tap & Grill. Plus other places in Fairfield and Sea Bright, and two Real Hot Yoga studios. There’s always something going on.
Joey: The two of us partnered up in July 2022 to open Uno Más in Allendale, a really popular BYO taqueria where Adam Rose is the chef. This August, Dan and I will be opening Allendale Social, a restaurant and bar.

How did you get into the hospitality game?
Dan: I happily tended bar during and after Rutgers and also on Long Beach Island and in Giants Stadium. My last bartending job was at Green Rock in Hoboken. I became a partner there in 2011 and opened my next place, Grand Vin, in 2016.
Joey: I started working for Dan as a bartender while at Montclair State. He said it would be enjoyable and rewarding, and he was right.

What was your fraternal relationship like growing up?
Dan: I always adored my littlest brother. Joey is the baby of the family. We have three other brothers and three sisters. That’s right, eight kids, and I’m one of triplets.
Joey: I really looked up to Dan. He was and still is a great brother.

What was it like growing up in an eight-kid family?
Dan: Busy and fun! There’s always someone to play with outside or do a project with.
Joey: You learn to stand up for yourself while at the same time getting along with everyone. It was good training for a social business like restaurant-owning.

What’s your division of labor now?
Dan: I do business development, which means planning new ventures. I love teamwork and turning a concept into a reality. I’m a free spirit and sometimes have big, complicated, ambitious ideas.
Joey: Before we became partners, we went over all the pros and cons and what we would each bring to the table. I’m the pragmatist and once in a while bring Dan the dreamer back down to earth. Like him, I thrive on being around people. I handle our day-to-day management and operations.

The open-face tlayuda, a house-made tortilla heaped with chorizo, at Uno Más in Allendale.

The open-face tlayuda, a tortilla heaped with chorizo, at Uno Más in Allendale. Photo: Courtesy of KT Harrison

What’s your advice for siblings thinking of starting a business?
Dan: Research your idea and your market to death. Give your concept a unique spin. Know each other’s strengths.
Joey: Talk over every little thing with each other. Know what’s possible and practical. Work hard and be prepared to step in to do anything. At Uno Más, sometimes I have to unpack deliveries, wait tables, or clean up.
Dan: That’s what it takes. Give luck and success every opportunity to find you.

Are your six other siblings involved in your ventures?
Dan: Only as devoted diners and fans.
Joey: Right. They’re our best customers.

Do you see a next generation of Grey restaurateurs down the road?
Dan: Not just yet. With my wife, Briana, I became a first-time father to Charlotte in July 2022.
Joey: My son Brody, our first too, was born in October 2022. My wife, Victoria, is our busy event planner at Uno Más, so we’re there as a family a lot.
Dan: Our kids are first cousins and they’re growing up together at Uno Más. They love our shredded-beef birria tacos.
Joey: And our guacamole.

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