Corktown’s casual new corner cafe and coffee shop Folk is preparing to open its doors on Wednesday, April 11 inside the Bagley-Trumbull Market building. The shop is the sibling to owners Kiki Louya’s and Rohani Foulkes’ phenomenal neighboring cafe-market the Farmer’s Hand and will focus on all-day brunch options such as toast, meat pies, quiche, gluten-free waffles, and salads.
“Really, Folk is an extension of what we do in the Farmer’s Hand,” Foulkes tells Eater. Whereas the Farmer’s hand is focused primarily on locally sourced produce, groceries, and grab-and-go items, the dedicated kitchen at Folk allows Foulkes and Louya to prepare more of their dishes from scratch. For example, the granola used in the Farmer’s Hand’s parfaits, says Foulkes, was sourced from a local farm due to space limitations at the market. “Here we get to actually make our own granola,” she says.
Other favorites from the market are also getting an upgrade at Folk, too. Take for instance the Farmer’s Hand’s now retired egg sandwich the Little Guy. At Folk, it’s returning as a buttermilk biscuit sandwich with herb frittata and a creamy aioli rather than a fried egg with cheese on bread. “The Little Guy has kind of grown up,” Foulkes says.
Folk’s menu is divided into several categories including a Bread section featuring thick-slices of toasted Zingerman’s bread topped with sweet and savory options like ricotta and strawberry-ginger preserves and avocado paired with bright pink beet hummus. Diners can also expect to find larger shareable dishes in the Family Meal section such as Foulke’s version of an Aussie-style meat pie and Louya’s grandmother’s biscuit and gravy.
As at the Farmer’s Hand, the new cafe is serving Hyperion Coffee and espresso drinks made on a rose-colored La Marzocco espresso machine. The beverage menu also promises several brightly colored herbal milks in flavors such as matcha, turmeric, and rose.
One particularly special feature of Folk is its pint-sized ice cream counter, offering scoops of Reilly Craft Creamery ice cream in rotating flavors such as “Killer Bees,” vegan vanilla, raspberry sorbet, and Mexican chocolate. “It flies off the shelf shelves in pints at the Farmer’s Hand,” Foulkes says of the Reilly Craft Creamery ice cream. “We wanted to offer it in scoop form here for neighborhood friends, families, and kids. You can’t get a scoop of ice cream Corktown, let alone too many other places in the city.”
While larger than the Farmer’s Hand, Folk is still relatively small at 24 seats (a few additional tables will be added on the patio in warm weather). “We wanted it to be light, bright, and airy. It’s changed to something a lot more feminine than what the Farmer’s Hand is,” Foulkes says.
Louya and Foulkes worked with designer Christopher Stefani on the interior that features a small, three-seat counter looking into the wide-open kitchen overseen by kitchen manager Emily Cunningham. Two sets of high-top tables on rollers fill the center of the space beneath a tangle of wire baskets, while light pink upholstered banquettes line the floor-to-ceiling windows at the front of the cafe flanked by tables and wood chairs. Many of the items throughout the shop were made by local artisans or purchased from a West Elm line artist collaboration furnishings.
Folk’s service is designed to be flexible. Customers can stop by and order pastries, coffee, ice cream to go or grab a table and dine in. The owners are also making an effort to offer better pay and benefits for their staff. “We are working really hard here, just as we have done at the Farmer’s Hand, to break down some of those traditional workplace cultures that folks often experience in food service — high pressure, high stress, low wages,” Foulkes says.
Menu items at Folk are priced to include 18 percent gratuity in order to ensure staff are paid a living wage. Prices fall in the range of $6 to $12.50 for most items. In addition to providing staff with pay that’s higher than the state-mandated minimum wage, the cafe also accepts tips, which are distributed evenly among the employees.
Photographers Michelle and Chris Gerard took a tour of Folk’s space ahead of the anticipated opening. Take a peek inside the interior — and some of the food options — in the gallery below.
The Dining Room
Folk is located at 1701 Trumbull in Detroit; beginning April 11 the cafe will open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday (closed Tuesdays), and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Correction: April 11, 2018, 10:30 a.m.
A previous version of this article stated that Folk included an 18 percent gratuity in all checks due to an error in a release. This story has been clarified to state that Folk includes 18 percent gratuity in the pricing for items on its menu rather than as a blanket gratuity charged on all checks.
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