2 restaurants, bar manager leave food hall Fort Street Galley, pizza concept to move in
A second restaurant concept is leaving the Fort Street Galley.
Saturday is the last day for globally-influenced sandwich shop Allenby Detroit. Co-owner Michael Goldberg cites lack of customers as the reason for leaving.
"We chose to close because we have seen a drastic decline in the number of people coming in," he said, adding that Allenby's sales have been sliced in half since February. "We were hoping warmer weather would turn things around but it hasn’t."
Known for serving hummus dishes and sandwiches including falafel and chicken schnitzel, Allenby follows the departure of sustainable Korean restaurant Pursue which left the food hall in April after less than five months. Pursue was quickly replaced with comfort food concept Table.
Bar manager Marlowe Johnson has also left Fort Street Galley and is now beverage director at Flowers of Vietnam in Southwest Detroit.
Here's the good news: Galley Group co-founder Ben Mantica says Detroit-style pizza makers Michigan & Trumbull will temporary move into the Allenby space in July and stay for a few months.
Co-founded by a native Metro Detroiter, this deep-dish pizza shop is planning to open in Corktown this year. They're previously operated out of Galley Group's Federal Galley in Pittsburgh.
"We love working with them, they're fantastic so it kind of worked out for everybody," said Mantica.
They will start serving square pizza on July 8 and a "Countdown to Corktown" pizza party is planned for July 12, kind of a "welcome back to Detroit" event, said Mantica. The bash will have live music, art and a collaboration with a local brewery.
Mantica says they've hired a new beverage director to replace Johnson. While he declined to say who it is, he expressed that Fort Street Galley's bar program going forward will have a "renewed focus" on local products from Detroit's breweries and distilleries.
When Fort Street Galley launched in late 2018, the feeling was that these chefs and restaurant concepts would take closer to a year to "incubate" and lean on the food hall for front-of-house and other support while they prepare to possibly move a standalone business. Mantica said this quicker turnover is not normal for Galley Group, which has two similar food halls in Pittsburgh, one in Cleveland and others coming to Chicago and Minneapolis.
"In the last four years that we've been operating in our locations in Pittsburgh we've only had one kitchen leave before the end of their year and that was due to the fact that he had a couple concepts in the city and was stretched too thin," said Mantica.
"This isn't normal for us. I think we kind of got a way from our wheelhouse. Our reputation at our other locations is really important to us and it's all about approachability and that's something that got away from us. We committed to getting back to that."
Mantica says that while their spot at Fort and Shelby is not right off Woodward, they really like the location and the building, which is the former Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Detroit Branch Building built in 1927.
"I think one of the things that we didn't appreciate as much as we should have is that a lot of the people that are coming to restaurants in downtown Detroit don't necessarily live in Downtown Detroit," he said. "So parking is something that is more important than we expected."
As for Allenby's future, Goldberg says he "firmly" stands behind his concept. He thinks the prices were high for downtown, but overall a fair price considering what they were offering. He and partner Katie Nelson hope to bring Allenby to another location but in the mean time will likely have to look elsewhere for employment.
Fort Street Galley, 160 W. Fort in Detroit, is open for lunch and dinner daily, plus weekend brunch. Visit fortstreetgalley.org.