Local restaurants like Imperial and Slow’s will offer unique menu items at the Detroit music festival, Sugar House will set up a safari-themed bar
Ferndale tacos, craft cocktails from Corktown and a Birmingham brewery will be just some of the culinary offerings at the two-day Mo Pop Festival in Detroit later this month.
Organizers have gathered food trucks in the past to feed the 25,000 music fans expected to attend, but this year on July 29-30 they’re saving space for some of Metro Detroit’s hippest brick and mortar spots to shine.
“When we started the festival the goal was always to have a food and beverage experience that complimented the music nicely and more than just your typical run-of-the-mill things you would find at a summer fest,” said festival director Jason Rogalewski.
“We wanted to tie in locally as much as possible with Detroit, which is why we started with food trucks, initially, and we still have the Food Truck Rally Alley this year, as well as we wanted to expand on that concept and have some brick and mortars do pop-ups.”
Imperial in Ferndale — known for its tacos, hot dogs, margaritas and California-style vibe — will serve a special menu at Mo Pop this year, located at West Riverfront Park in Detroit.
“This is the first time they’re doing a festival in Detroit quite like this, so they’re designing a menu that will be special just for Mo Pop,” said another festival director, Dan McGowan. “They’ll be serving several signature hot dogs as well as tacos, and they were floating some other ideas as well. They’ll be serving some margaritas.”
Slow’s Bar BQ, which has been a part of Mo Pop in the past as a food truck, will join Imperial in the area called the Shipyard, which is separate from the Food Truck Rally Alley. McGowan said they’ll have some dishes exclusive to the festival.
On the beverage side, Mo Pop organizers teamed up with Griffin Claw brewery of Birmingham to make a special Mo Pop Festipale Ale. The “lighter, easy-drinking beer for the middle of summer” will be sold at the festival in 16-ounce cans for $8, and will also be released to select bars and beer stores this week.
Griffin Claw will have a presence in the Shipyard, along with Blake’s Hard Cider Co. of Armada. Blake’s will use Mo Pop as the seasonal debut if its popular Black Phillip cider. The cranberry and blood orange cider usually debuts in August, but Mo Pop attendees can sip some a bit earlier.
Separate from the Shipyard, craft cocktail bar Sugar House will create a lounge that is similar to the Michigan Avenue spot in size and concept, but with a safari theme. Festivalgoers can stop in for shade, a seat and an expertly-made beverage.
“It will roughly be the same size as the bar in Corktown, it’ll be run much like the bar in Corktown,” said McGowan. “It’ll offer a unique experienced within the festival itself.”
Strolling around the Mo Pop this year will be Detroit Pop Shop, which makes handcrafted, gourmet popsicles. The food truck pocket also includes the Los Dos Amigos taco truck, Taste and Tell soul food and Nu Deli, which serves deli sandwiches with an Indian twist.
Though ticketholders won’t see this, another local dining tie-in is that food from White Lake restaurant the Root will catering backstage to the musicians and artists performing at Mo Pop.
The music festival’s food and beverage offerings are purchased with cash or charge; no tokens or tickets are required.
Performers include Solange, Tyler the Creator, Alt-J, Foster the People, Run the Jewels, Phantogram, Vance Joy, Wavves, Anime, Pvris, Arkells, Pup, Grace Mitchell, Mondo Cozmo, Middle Kids, the Shadowboxers, White Reaper and more.
West Riverfront Park
1801 W. Jefferson, Detroit
Tickets: $75 and up