A new restaurant and community-focused venue is slated to open in Corktown this fall. Pudding Head is a casual breakfast and lunch counter concept developed by Roseann Micallef. The owner tells Eater that the restaurant focuses on providing healthy and affordable quick-service options for commuters. Micallef says diners can expect an assortment of international hand pies — pasties, calzones, samosas, and Jamaican beef pies — that utilize locally-sourced ingredients. Additionally, Pudding Head will feature daily soups and salads.
"I feel really protective of my neighborhood in Corktown and I really wanted to help the area retain that identity."
Micallef connected with a property owner through Motor City Match and has signed a letter of intent to lease a portion of a building on Rosa Parks Boulevard, just south of Michigan Avenue. The venue will occupy a loading dock. Micallef hopes to take advantage of the garage doors, for an open-air feel in warm weather.
She's currently working with Virtuoso Design+Build to develop the look and feel of the eatery and estimates it will seat up to 75 diners including patio space. The restaurant takes its name from a character in a Shirley Temple film. Like moniker, Micallef also envisions the space having a retro aesthetic, with some modern touches. Diners will order and pick up their food at the counter for dine-in or take-out.
Micallef grew up in the Corktown neighborhood, but lived for a number of years in New York and New Jersey working with nonprofits on refugee resettlement and immigration. However, later in life she decided to transition into a new career and attended culinary school. "When I moved back to Detroit I was very excited by the revitalization that was going on and particularly that Corktown was suddenly this hotspot and I wanted to be part of that," she says. "Having lived in the New York area, I've lived in Park Slope in Brooklyn in the 80s and I know what it's like when things change. It's like wildfire and so I feel really protective of my neighborhood in Corktown and I really wanted to help the area retain that identity."
With that in mind, the owner plans create a space for community programs and services. Pudding Head will operate Monday through Friday as a restaurant with events on the weekends such as movie nights, bingo, freecycle weekends, and community workshops. Micallef hopes to offer a tool sharing program and a concierge service connecting residents with dry cleaners and other services.
Pudding Head is currently awaiting design approval. The owner hopes to begin building out the space this summer with the aim of opening by Labor Day or the end of September.