The Congregation: Historic Detroit Church To Re-Open As Cafe, Bar

By WWJ Newsradio 950

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.