Fort Street Galley food hall opens Friday with four restaurants and a full bar
Detroit's latest food hall Fort Street Galley is set to open Friday with four different restaurant concepts and full, modern bar all under one roof.
This is Galley Group's fourth incubator-style restaurant, and their first in Detroit. This fall they announced the starting lineup of restaurants inside Fort Street Galley will serve barbecue from a James Beard Award-winning chef, sustainable sushi, downtown's first Filipino restaurant and sandwiches inspired by world travels.
“The group of chefs that we have selected, and were fortunate to have applied for Fort Street Galley, are what excites me the most,” said Galley Group co-founder Ben Mantica. “We have a wide range of types of cuisine ... each chef is at a different position in their career."
"Watching them begin to work together and co-exist on the quality of food they're putting out there is really exciting," said Mantica.
Located inside the Federal Reserve Building, Fort Street Galley is 8,646-square feet and includes a kitchen for each concept, communal seating, standard seating and a bar with 30 seats and 21 draft beers. Like other food halls around the globe, it's expected to be bustling and buzzy.
Mantica and partner Tyler Benson have two incubator food halls Pennsylvania where the company is based and one in Cleveland. A Chicago Galley is underway.
Each of these chefs at the Fort Street Galley will incubate for about a year before being swapped out for a new concept. The format allows restaurant start-ups to operate in a low-risk, high-volume environment. Galley Group provides the chefs with front-of-house staff and they hire their own team for their kitchen.
"I always tell (chefs) we can be as involved or as little involved as you want us to be," said Mantica. "They dictate their menu ... we don't get involved in their menus but if they want our feedback we're happy to provide it. We can help them through any aspect whether it be restaurant operations, all the way to learning how to use Quickbooks."
Here is the starting line up for Detroit's Fort Street Galley.
Lucky's Noble BBQ: James Beard Award-winning chef Jimmy Schmidt returns to the Detroit restaurant scene after a long hiatus (he helmed the London Chop House in the 1980s and Rattlesnake Club in Detroit in the '90s). He and partner Brian Recor Schmidt will serve classic barbecue that is nutritious and sustainable.
Pursue: Chef Mike Han will also focus on sustainability with his Korean and Japanese concept, which is a greater task for a sushi restaurant. Mantica promises that Han will be offering something different than nearby Maru Sushi, literally next door, as Pursue's dishes are a departure from traditional sushi.
Allenby: The lunchtime crowd will appreciate this sandwich shop's menu, which is inspired by the world travels of chefs Michael Goldberg and Katie Nelson. Besides "stuff in bread," as their menu says, they'll have small plates like pork belly poutine and bigger dishes like the falafel or beef kebab plate.
Isla: Authentic Filipino food is rare around here, particularly in downtown Detroit. This changes with the debut of Isla. The married chef team of JP Garcia and Jacqueline Diño will bring the flavors of the Philippines to Fort Street with dishes like pancit, adobo, croquettes and lumpia.
The way service works is diners seat themselves, and order and pay at each kitchen directly. Order and pay for drinks at the bar separately. Food is delivered to your table or seat.
The bar here is not an afterthought. Mantica and Benson have enlisted well-known Detroit cocktail expert Marlowe Johnson to oversee the bar program. Like the chefs, the Galley Group gave Johnson and his team a fair amount of creative leeway to design something that is unique to Detroit.
"We had this real ethos going into the bar of 'no middle road,'" said Johnson. "We wanted it to be the kind of place where you can get a beer, and a 16-ounce tallboy of Singapore lager and you can also have a pour of really wild Japanese whiskey and you can have a beautiful over-the-top cocktail or you can have a very simple draft cocktail."
One of the over-the-top cocktails is their Swiss Holiday, which is made with Hennessey and hot chocolate and is topped with torched, Italian-style meringue infused with Fernet (a digestif) and orange zest. He said they looked to Dead Rabbit in New York, a bar considered to have the best Irish coffee, for tips on how to perfect this cocktail.
Along with wine, sake and 21 draft beers, Fort Street Galley's bar will serve traditional hand-crafted cocktails. To keep up with expected high volume, they will also have highly-customizable draft cocktails ready to go so they can serve more basic drinks faster.
Johnson, who also oversaw the opening of the popular Candy Bar inside Detroit's Siren Hotel, says they spend a lot of time prepping the bar, so service is faster but there's no sacrificing quality.
He said some of the things that attracted him to working for Galley Group was not only the approachable vibe of a food hall, but also the owners' commitment to work-life balance.
"I've been very used to, my whole life, working these 70-80-90 hour weeks and 14 hours shifts when you don't eat and you drink too much and you don't get see you family and your house is a mess ... and the Galley seems to operate under this compassion for its people that I haven't really seen from other restaurant groups in my life."
After Friday's debut, the kitchen at Fort Street Galley, 160 W. Fort in Detroit, will be open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri., 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sat. and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun.; the bar will stay open until 10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and midnight Fri.-Sat.
Lunch and dinner is served weekdays and brunch and dinner is offered on the weekends.
Seating is first come, first served; reservations are not accepted. Visit fortstreetgalley.org.