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‘Floral Focused’ Bar Coming to Virginia Park This Spring

The space will feature an outdoor patio overlooking an urban farm

Courtesy of Laura Ludka
Serena Maria Daniels is the editor for Eater Detroit.

A couple from Kentucky are hoping to fill a gap for a neighborhood drink and dining place in a largely residential just outside of the buzz of Midtown by opening a bar/flower shop in Virginia Park.

To be called Garden Flora, the space at 611 W. Philadelphia St. — a 3,000-square-foot space that formerly housed a pottery manufacturing shop — will lean heavy on what owner Laura Ludka calls floral-focused beers and wines and feature a retail flower shop, in addition to a bar and outdoor patio.

“We live nearby and that was one reason why we were interested in building something in the area,” Ludka tells Eater. “There’s hardly even any fast food in the area, let alone a small business. It’s almost complete residential, close to New Center. We felt like there is an opportunity here. We want that neighborhood bar feel, we’re not looking for that swanky hotel bar feel.”

Ludka, whose background is in marketing and communications, is joined by her husband, Richard, who’s worked in flower shops and organic flower farms. He’ll focus the retail side on seasonal hand-tied bouquets. Also on the premises is a commercial kitchen that the couple hope to lease out to a casual restaurant concept.

As for beer and wine selection, Garden Flora will feature several varieties with notes of flowers like roses, hibiscus and chamomile. Brews include Caldera Brewing Co’s Rose Petal Imperial Golden Ale, Jolly Pumpkin’s Baudelaire Series iO Saison and Jasmine Pale Ale from Vermont-based Rock Art Brewery. Wines will run the gamut in flavor profiles from sweet rieslings to drier Malbecs.

The location is borders an urban farm run by the Central Detroit Christian community development group. The Ludkas will purchase flowers from the neighboring farm whenever possible.

Construction of the brick, open space is expected to begin sometime this fall. Ludka says the couple took out loans to purchase the building and plan to work with Detroit-based Krieger Klatt Architects. Build out will include installation of a bar, a back door and a patio, which will look directly onto the farm.

Garden Flora sits within walking distance to New Center, an area undergoing rapid redevelopment, including several food and drink places.

Ludka tells Eater that she and her husband grew up in Kentucky, but met later in life after the two had moved elsewhere. After they got married, they relocated to Detroit with the intention of calling the Motor City home and possibly opening a business, though what that would look like wasn’t exactly clear when they first arrived two years ago.

Living in Detroit, she says, “just really makes this inkling of a dream seem possible, it doesn’t seem possible in other cities.”

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