Combine signature dishes with unique daily specials in a fun, welcoming environment where walls are decorated with vibrant pop art, and you have the Market Street Grill.
For 15 years, it has been a go-to place for breakfast, lunch, and hanging out with friends in West Chester. People in Downingtown also enjoy a similar experience at the Grill’s newer, larger sister restaurant, the Green Street Grill, in Mill Town Square.
Founder Kerry Greco, once a regional manager for Cinnabon, grew up in South Philly and lived in Yeadon and Oxford before setting in West Chester. His son, Christian, a graduate of West Chester University, remembers his father as always being involved in the food service business.
“After all those years grinding away, he finally had the means to do a venture of his own,” he said. “He had the support of the family and made it happen.”
The Market Street Grill opened in 2003 and soon became a place where locals could hang out and enjoy plate-sized pancakes and an array of omelettes, salads, wraps, and creative offerings from the griddle.
Regulars know to also check the chalkboard for the daily and imaginative specials, such as brown sugar French toast with banana panna cotta and whipped cream or a smoked sausage wrap with scrambled eggs, caramelized apples, onions, and swiss cheese.
Those specials, and signature recipes like the Bruno Burrito, the menu’s most popular item, are the creations of Chef Darla Riccetti.
“She is our culinary genius,” said Christian Greco. “All the recipes are hers, including her andouille sausage gravy, which is featured in many of our signature dishes. Every time she comes up with a new special, no matter how crazy it may sound, you know it’s going to be good. Without her, we wouldn’t have the success we have.”
Adding to that success is a management team that is “like family,” a top-notch wait staff, and a friendly face to greet everyone who comes through the door. One of those greeters could be Christian Greco himself, who joined the restaurant full time in 2015 after realizing he hated working in the corporate world.
“I don’t necessarily have a title here,” he said. “I just do whatever my father needs.”
That can be out at the front to greet people when they come in, taking orders, or whatever day-to-day needs arise. His chief responsibility, however, is managing the financial side of the business.
While breakfast is the main draw on Saturdays and Sundays, lunch is the busiest time for the restaurant during the week.
“We have tons of business meetings constantly going down at the Market Street location,” Christian said. “I think it’s awesome that so many people want to come there and have a casual business meeting, or just chill out and talk for a little while and catch up with friends.”
Although the Market Street Grill may be used for private parties and other events, breakfasts and lunches are the main focus of the restaurant, which closes each day at 2:30 PM.
“We did dinner briefly for a time, but our thing has always been breakfast and lunch,” said Christian. “We want to stick with what we’re good at.”
With the means and a reliable staff that could be split up to work in another location, Kerry Greco looked to offer the same feeling and atmosphere of the Market Street Grill somewhere else. That became the impetus behind Downingtown’s Green Street Grill, which opened in 2013.
“Hopefully, we can capture the hearts of people here just like we did in West Chester,” Kerry said at the time.
Green Street Grill offers the same menu creations by chefs who were all trained under Riccetti, in a space three times the size of Market Street Grill.
“It was a fantastic opportunity,” said Christian. “Like Market Street, it has become the place where people come to hang out. I see the same regulars every day.”
The new location also features the same pop art on its walls that customers have enjoyed for years at the Market Street Grill. The eye-catching creations are by local artist John Stengo, a friend of the Greco family, and can be purchased by customers.
Christian Greco is proud that the same management team has been in place for many years and that his father, who is loved by all the employees, still comes into the restaurant every day to lend a hand.
“It’s a special kind of environment,” Christian said. “We want to make sure customers see a friendly face as soon as they come through the door, that they are being treated like they’re one of our own, and that they have a nice, fun experience.
“That’s my dad’s culture that he instilled from the start. We’ve got a good thing going.”