The “new” Corktown is on display on Michigan Avenue, where some of the current hot spots have staked their claim to vintage buildings. There’s also an “old” Corktown, and that is in the neighborhood off the avenue, and it is typified by the down-to-earth Mudgie’s Deli.
The restaurant on the corner of Porter and Brooklyn streets is tucked into the residential area, and its lack of gloss is one of its charms. The three-room spot — carry-out and retail counter at the entrance, central bar and separate dining room — was recently updated, but it retains its raffish charm, with wood plank floors and tin ceilings, mismatched furniture and light fixtures, and a “take me as I am” attitude. Looking for a slick dining experience? Look elsewhere. This is old Corktown.
Mudgie’s — named for proprietor Greg Mudge — is locally famous for its long list of sandwiches, each of which has a name.
There’s the Brooklyn (beef brisket, bacon, beer cheese and caramelized onions on a kaiser roll), the Porter (portabello mushroom, Asiago cheese, roasted red peppers artichokes and pesto on ciabatta bread) and the Pressley (roasted turkey breast, coleslaw, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing on sourdough rye) and about three dozen others.
But human nature being what it is, there’s a further option. Those who can’t find something they like among the choices can create their own sandwich from a long list of ingredients and no less than 10 bread varieties.
Not to be missed is one of Mudgie’s soups, on a daily changing list of sturdy varieties, such as baked potato soup. On a recent visit, I was impressed with the chipotle red lentil, a vegan soup that was simply bursting with flavor and a resonant spice level. Soup may be ordered in combination with half a sandwich at $11, and given the heft of the sandwiches, that seems a wise move.
For years, Mudgie’s has been thought of as just a lunch option, but with the addition of a liquor license, hours have expanded. Presiding over the bar is the knowledgeable Putnam Weekley, who has put together appealing beer, wine and cocktail lists in a gentle price range. He recently added a series of wine tastings starting at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, with five wines at $15, a really outstanding value given the pedigree of his choices. For Jan. 26: the wines of California’s Ridge Vineyards.
Wine tastings at a Corktown deli. Yet another reason to love Mudgie’s style.
1300 Porter, Detroit 48226
Call: (313) 961-2000
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Sat. (bar later), 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sun.
Prices: Soups and sides $4-$7.50, salads $8-$11, sandwiches $9.50-$12.50, entrees (served after 5 p.m.) $7-$14, desserts $1.50-$7.50
Credit cards: All major
Liquor: Full bar
Noise level: Medium high
Wheelchair access: Side door is handicapped accessible.