In preparation to open Gabriel Hall Creole restaurant in Detroit, owners Ederique Goudia and Dameon Gabriel have been hosting pop-up dinners around town to get feedback from guests and get a sense of what dishes work and which need more tweaking.
After they sold 160 po’ boy sandwiches in 90 minutes at a pop-up at Nancy Whiskey in Corktown in September, I think they can confidently put those in the “works” column.
The next pop-up is Wednesday at Brix Wine & Charcuterie Bar at 7968 Kercheval in West Village, right across the street from where Gabriel Hall’s brick-and-mortar restaurant will open this spring at Kercheval and Van Dyke in Detroit.
Service starts at 6 p.m. with a menu of gumbos and Cajun-smoked turkey chili. Each item is $7 and is served with a piece of creole cornbread. Brix will have a happy hour drink menu with wines that pair well for $7.
“Because it’s the fall, we wanted to make sure we showcased that, and really get some feedback on some of our heartier items,” said Goudia. “We wanted people to come and get a taste of what to expect (from the restaurant), and then also give us some feedback. How do they feel about the dishes? What would they pay for it if it was on the menu? Would they come back?”
Brix only has about 40-50 seats, and considering how fast the po’ boys were devoured at the last pop-up, arriving early is recommended.
Goudia is a New Orleans native who moved to Detroit after college about 15 years ago. She’s a veteran of the restaurant industry, a food business consultant and works as an educator with FoodLab Detroit. The recipes she’ll be showcasing at Gabriel Hall are traditional New Orleans fare from recipes passed down to her from her mother and grandmother.
She said Gabriel Hall, which was awarded a $65,000 grant from Motor City Match in April, will sit at “the intersection of food, music and culture.”
The chef is bringing the flavor of New Orleans, and her business partner, Gabriel, will bring the sound. Gabriel is a fifth-generation Detroiter whose family has roots in the Big Easy. He’s also the leader of Detroit’s Gabriel Brass Band and the Gabriel Music Society.
“Dameon is Detroit,” said Goudia. “He comes from a long line of musicians that really brought that New Orleans-style music and jazz to Detroit.”
She said that in addition to serving Creole and Cajun dishes, Gabriel Hall will also serve as a music venue when it opens next year.
“Music and food go hand-in-hand,” said Goudia. “Especially as it relates to New Orleans, and really even Detroit.”
To keep up on the progress of Gabriel Hall’s spring opening, or for information on future pop-ups, visit facebook.com/gabrielhalldetroit.