His mother and a colleague confirmed his passing on social media. The cause of death was not immediately known, but his mother, Sandy Pressley, told The Detroit News that his passing was unexpected and not related to COVID-19.
“Everybody loved him,” she said, adding that Mudge had recently had a checkup and was preparing to take a few days off from the restaurant to go camping with his wife, Liza Pulgini. “He would give you the shirt off his back. Mudgie’s was his life,” she said, calling his death very sudden.
Founded in 2008 in Corktown, Mudgie’s racked up national awards and accolades for its house-smoked meats and sauces. His restaurant, an institution of the neighborhood, is a longtime member of Detroit’s Eater 38 and made Thrillist’s compilation of the nation’s best sandwich shops in America in 2017.
Mudge’s death brought an outpouring of reaction from across the city and state.
“I have no words for this loss,” Bobcat Bonnie’s owner Matthew Buskard wrote on Facebook. “Greg was always one of the best, most helpful and just good people I’ve ever known. I still just cannot believe this is actually true.”
Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist recalled how Mudge welcomed him to the neighborhood when he and his family moved to Corktown seven years ago. “I witnessed how his kind, humble, unselfish spirit truly lifted our community.” he wrote.
When my family moved home to Corktown 7 years ago, Greg Mudge was one of the 1st to greet and welcome us at Murphy Playlot (across the street from Mudgie’s). From then on, I witnessed how his kind, humble, unselfish spirit truly lifted our community. https://t.co/VaxvikoKZI— Garlin Gilchrist (@garlin) September 6, 2021
Batch Brewing Co. owner Stephen Roginson reflected on his “dear friend, colleague, and neighbor.”
“I hope that at some point, each of you develop a friendship like I had with him,” Roginson wrote on his Facebook page. “Finding support in a harsh business reality is difficult to do. His leadership made life easier for me, as well as countless others.”
When the restaurant reopens, the patio will be open only for a week.