The Legacy of Mooresville Gray Bros. Cafeteria lasts more than 70 years

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Editor’s Note: In 2022, Morgan County and the City of Martinsville will celebrate their bicentennial. This year, the Reporter-Times publishes a series of stories to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Morgan County and Martinsville. This story is the fourth part of this series.

MOORESVILLE – You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in Mooresville, or central Indiana for that matter, who doesn’t know Gray Bros Cafeteria. The restaurant has been offering delicious family recipes for over 70 years, and continues to grow today.

Zach Gray, the restaurant’s manager and son of owner Merrill Gray, said the majority of the men in his family were involved in the operation in one way or another.

“All brothers.” Gray said. “We just take mom’s recipes and grandma’s recipes.”

The family restaurant, located at 555 S. Indiana St, Mooresville, has been open since the 1940s and has managed to stay strong despite numerous setbacks due to COVID.

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The restaurant, which was open daily, recently had to start closing on Mondays, although it was still in high demand, and also closed its take-out line.

Zach Gray attributed the closure to a lack of employees to cover the shifts needed to keep the take-out line open and the restaurant full all week.

“That’s a bad thing, because we’re usually busy that day,” Gray said. “It’s hard to find employees. They’re really hard to find. It’s hard to get the people we have so many days to work without killing them.”

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The Gray Brothers cafeteria is well known for its wide selection of pies and desserts.

The main foodservice line will welcome take-out orders for the foreseeable future.

“We don’t have enough staff to make it work on both sides,” Gray added. “But really, we’re doing the same volume of business as when it was open. If we get more staff, I could definitely see us reopening it.”

However, Gray added that he was grateful for customers, new and regular, who came out and supported the restaurant, especially in the wake of the pandemic.

“Over the last year you’ve definitely seen more people come in, you’ve seen more and more faces,” Gray said. “Even though it was Covid the last two years, last year was really extremely busy. It was great.”

The delicious recipes used at Gray's have been passed down to family members for decades.

“The impact of COVID has really been the lack of staff and trying to adapt to it.” Gray added. “Definitely a lot of community support. You see locals going through quite a bit.”

Gray noted that her favorite aspect of the restaurant was knowing that the food satisfied customers.

“It’s satisfying to see the customer’s face and their enjoyment with their family,” Gray said. “It was tough, but we definitely adapted to that every day.”

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While Gray Bros. offers a wide range of items in the restaurant, it is arguably most famous for its pies.

In fact, the company is part of the Hoosier Pie Trail, along with the Martinsville Candy Kitchen, with the Indiana Foodways Alliance.

To contact Gray Bros. for catering or to inquire about employment opportunities, contact Billy Beasley at 317-831-7234.

Contact Reporter-Times reporter Grace Phillips at [email protected] or 765-346-4815

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