In the Kitchen

TGIMonday

Morgan Pearlman and John Gray describe the origins of their ever-open cafe/bar/restaurant on Federal Hill

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For centuries, workers have toiled all week, partied all weekend, and decided to sleep off their hangovers instead of clocking in. In England, this practice was given the cheeky name “Saint Monday.”

The phrase struck a chord for Morgan Pearlman and John Gray, two friends with an eclectic range of culinary interests. Their new Federal Hill venue, Saint Monday, caters to odd schedules: They serve coffee all day and night, and you can order a cocktail just about any time you want. Part cafe, part bar, and also part restaurant, Saint Monday is open from 8am until midnight, every day of the week.

“You go out for coffee or try and grab lunch on a Tuesday afternoon, good luck finding places that are open,” says Gray. “That’s where the conversation started. Where can you grab a drink at 3pm? We just started to form this concept.”

Gray grew up in Iowa and Pearlman in New Jersey. They spent time in New York City, frequenting the same haunts, but they never crossed paths until they started working at the late Cook and Brown Public House in Providence. Gray is a veteran bartender; Pearlman is keener on coffee and baking, and she holds an MBA from Johnson & Wales. Separately, each had planned a different venture, but their plans fell through. Then, after comparing notes, they decided to merge their ideas.

Saint Monday is an open industrial space with tall windows, a shuffleboard table in the rear, and an antique sign marked “Fountain Service.” (The building is located on Fountain Street, making the sign an irresistible purchase). Mornings are ripe for coffee or breakfast, and plenty of telecommuters have set up their mobile offices by noon. But the Saint Monday dinner menu is quickly evolving, and Gray and Pearlman envision a fun and collaborative place to sup. They drew inspiration from their time in New York, where venues are lively and close-quartered. Family-style meals include whole roast chicken and slow-cooked pork, which can feed several people at a time. The menu is also packed with hors d’oeuvres.

“This is the way we like to eat, the experience we want when we go out,” says Pearlman. “We wanted a space where people could come in and share a meal together. We want to go out and look at the menu and say, ‘Okay, we’re gonna have two of this, three of this, two of this, and everyone’s gonna share everything.”

Saint Monday