If Detroit can be said to have sacred ground, it is 12th and Clairmount – ground zero for the 1967 civil unrest that many Black residents refer to as an uprising, where a long-oppressed population finally rebelled against years of police abuse and said: Enough.
An historic church is getting a second chance at bringing people together as the Congregation opens Thursday in Detroit, serving as a cafe, bar and rental space.
DETROIT (WWJ) – A new business is getting ready to open in Detroit that you could say is “heaven sent.”
A couple of Detroit entrepreneurs believe some old hallowed ground is the perfect place for a new business. A former church from the 1920s situated between the historic Boston Edison and Atkinson neighborhoods is getting new life as The Congregation.
“We wanted someplace we could walk to, grab a cup of coffee, meet a neighbor and do community oriented events,” co-owner Betsy Murdoch told WWJ’s Mike Campbell. “It’s really for our neighbors, and we’ve had great support from them. But we also know that there’s going to be some people who want to make it a destination because we’re in a cool old church in the middle of Boston Edison.”
Beginning March 5, the former church will re-open as a cafe that features coffee and pastries in the morning and a full bar in the evening with cocktails and small bites. There’s also space to rent for private and community events.
“It’s someplace where artists can display their arts, musicians can come play, really any type of group could come and congregate here — book clubs, grief counselors, all of the above,” said Murdoch. “We really want it to be a space that is open to everybody.”
The Congregation, located off Rosa Parks Boulevard and Atkinson Street, has been a vision in the making for more than three years. Murdoch said a tremendous amount of attention was given to preserving the history and integrity of the building.
“We maintained and restored all the original stained glass, the original maple wood flooring,” she said. “Our bars are actually build out of all the original pews that used to fill this space.”
A highlight of the space is a rare Casavant Freres organ and pipes at the edge of the main room that was originally built by Samuel Russell Warren. A new outdoor deck was also added to the facility, offering a great view of Gordon Park.
The menu will consist of Great Lakes Coffee, local beer, wine and spirits, soups, flatbreads, salads, snacks, and Detroit-sourced baked goods from Good Cakes & Bakes, Terri’s Cakes, and Eat Good Cookies.
Hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday – Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Street parking is available.
Betsy Murdoch lives in Detroit’s Boston Edison neighborhood. This is her church or what was a churc now about to reopen as a coffee shop-restaurant.
Neighbors work together to renovate Detroit historic church and offer coffee, café, cocktails and community
DETROIT. February 18, 2020–The Congregation, located at 9321 Rosa Parks Blvd. in Detroit, will open on March 5 thanks to the hard work of neighbors who vowed to bring the 1920’s era church back to life after years of abandonment. The former church is situated between Boston Edison and Atkinson neighborhoods across from historic Gordon Park.
Beginning March 5, the space will be a cafe that features coffee and pastries in the morning and cocktails and small bites in the evening. There is also space to rent for private and community events.
“We will be a gathering place for the residents and visitors of these neighborhoods to relax and socialize. We will feature rotating art, musicians, story hours, book clubs, and outdoor programming in the Biergarten in good weather,” said Co-Owner Betsy Murdoch. “We are also excited about hiring from within our community and offering jobs to our neighbors.”
The vision for converting the formerly abandoned church has been in the works for more than three years. They began construction on the 2,500-square foot former church last summer with the help of Architect David Iannuzzi of Iannuzzi Studio and JJ’s House, both Detroit-based businesses. The Congregation was a Motor City Match awardee in 2017.
A tremendous amount of attention and detail was given to preserving the history and integrity of the building. The team used every effort to repurpose or restore what was salvageable in the building. Filled with antiques and soft comfortable furniture, the cafe features a counter made of church pews and a refurbished arched window that was previously covered in cinderblocks. Another highlight is a rare Casavant Freres organ and pipes at the edge of the main room that was originally built by Samuel Russell Warren. A new outdoor deck was added to the facility, offering a great view of Gordon Park.
Murdoch believes in sourcing quality local products. The menu will consist of Great Lakes Coffee, local beer, wine and spirits, soups, flatbreads, salads, snacks, and Detroit-sourced baked goods from Good Cakes & Bakes, Terri’s Cakes, and Eat Good Cookies.
Hours will be 7 am-9 pm weekdays, 7 am-10 pm weekends, 9 am-6 pm Sundays. Street parking is available.
For more information, visit www.thecongregationdetroit.com or on social media @thecongregationdetroit.
MEDIA CONTACT: Colleen Robar, 313-207-5960, firstname.lastname@example.org
A cafe is set to open in a 1920s-built church in Detroit.
The Congregation, on the edge of the city’s Boston-Edison neighborhood, will serve coffee, pastries and small bites. It’s also available to rent for events. A March 5 opening is expected in the former New St. James church that was last used in 2014, according to co-owner Betsy Murdoch.
A gorgeous circa 1920s church in Detroit’s Boston-Edison is being revived as a coffee shop, bar, and community event space called the Congregation on Thursday, March 5.