Detroit is finally getting its first food hall this evening with the opening of Detroit Shipping Company. Diners have doggedly followed the progress on the Cass Corridor shipping container building for months, patiently awaiting the opening amid seemingly endless delays. Altogether the building cost upwards of $3 million or “triple the time and double the budget,” as co-founder James Therkalsen tells it.
Customers can still expect some more waiting before the food hall achieves its full potential. As of Friday, July 13, two of the stalls — chef Maxcel Hardy’s Caribbean fusion restaurant Coop and chef Genevieve Vang’s Bangkok 96 Street Food — have passed inspection in time for the opening. Chef Petro Drakopoulos’ Brujo Tacos & Tapas is on track to open on Saturday, July 14. Nitrogen ice cream shop -320º Coffee & Creamery and Windsor sandwich import Bread Meats Bread will arrive sometime early next month followed by Windsor’s Motorburger in late-August or early September.
Detroit Shipping Company, located just a few steps from the Peterboro and 8 Degrees Plato Detroit, was developed by Therkalsen and partner Jonathan Hartzell. The pair have seen the project through location changes, name changes, and frequent setbacks with zoning and permitting. The food hall is part of a wave of similar developments that have trended across the country. Since the project was announced in 2015, several similar food hall developments have been set into motion in Detroit. In the case of Detroit Shipping Company, each food stall signs a three-year lease and pays monthly rent while sharing in communal expenses such as common area maintenance, marketing, and utilities. Detroit Shipping Company’s owners handle roughly 38 percent of these fees corresponding with their operations of the bar spaces.
The two story structure is made from 21 stacked shipping containers plus an additional container for storage and features an indoor-outdoor layout. Two bars are located on opposite sides of the building serving an extensive list of craft beers on draft and in cans and bottles. Therkalsen tells Eater the bars were designed for fast service with options like batched cocktails on draft and build-your-own six packs of beer. There’s also plenty of wine available whether boxed or from the bottle. In the northeast corner of the first floor, patrons can find breweries selling their beers on a rotating basis. Detroit Shipping Company also houses an on-demand printshop Armadillo Printwear and studio for Podcast Detroit. There’s even a stage for live music and comedy shows.
At nearly 10,000-square-feet the building is designed to handle large crowds. The lower levels feature reclaimed wood tables (each on wheels for easy reconfiguration of the space) surrounded by black metal chairs. The second floor features perimeter walkways with drink rails and metal stools as well as lounge area tables. A “bridge lounge” decked out in paintings from local artists and art students overlooks both the indoor and outdoor areas; it’s designed for rentals such as business meetings and events. All together, the building seats 280 people with even more standing room. The spaces were kept relatively simple, utilizing the original steel and wood from the containers with pops of color from special Detroit Wallpaper Company-designed wallpaper and murals.
Take a tour of Detroit’s new food hub, opening tonight at 7 p.m., in the gallery below and learn a bit more about each of the restaurant stalls.
The Food Stalls
What to expect: Chef Maxcel Hardy of River Bistro is finally debuting his second (of three) planned projects for Detroit inside Detroit Shipping Company. Coop features Caribbean fusion dishes such as char-grilled whole chicken, conch fritters, wings, and skirt steak empanadas.
Location: First floor between Bangkok 96 Street Food and Brujo Tacos & Tapas
Bangkok 96 Street Food
What to expect: Chef Genevieve Vang is putting a street food spin on her popular Dearborn restaurant Bangkok 96. Diners can expect options like pad thai rolls, candied beef with sticky rice, and Hmong tempura boneless chicken feet.
Location: First floor between Coop and Bread Meats Bread
-320º Coffee & Creamery
What to expect: This cafe and ice cream shop will specialize in ultra creamy nitrogen ice cream, made fresh to-order. Expect flavors like double stuffed Oreo, avocado pistachio, maple syrup waffle, and basil strawberry. The shop also serves Intelligentsia coffee, espresso, and cold brew as well as Limelight — cold brew with lime, simple syrup, and tonic.
Location: Second floor overlooking main food stalls
Status: Estimated early August opening
Brujo Tacos & Tapas
What to expect: Petro Drakopoulos, the chef behind Republica in Berkeley, is bringing halal-friendly tacos and Spanish tapas to the Detroit Shipping Company. Customers can expect options like spicy curried goat tacos and chipotle grasshopper tacos served with handmade tortillas. The restaurant will also offer high-end canned seafood and small plates. Prices will range from $5 up to $18.
Location: First floor next to Coop
Status: Estimated opening Saturday, July 14, pending inspections
Bread Meats Bread
What to expect: Windsor sandwich shop Bread Meats Bread is serving options like brisket sandwiches, gnocchi poutine, and chocolate gelato sandwiches.
Location: First floor between Bangkok 96 Street Food and Motorburger
Status: Estimated early August opening
What to expect: This Windsor-based restaurant will feature options like nachos, beef burgers, lamb burgers, and chorizo sausage sandwiches.
Location: First floor next to Bread Meats Bread
Status: Estimated late-August/early-September opening
Detroit Shipping Company is located at 474 Peterboro St. in Detroit; the food hall will open during its first weekend beginning from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, July 13 ; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday, July 14 (Coop, Bankok 96, and Brujo); and 11 a.m. to midnight on Sunday, July 15 (Bangkok 96 and Coop); regular hours are 11 a.m. to midnight daily.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that the building is 10,000-square-feet not 6,400-square-feet.
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