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Then & Now Detroit: Foran’s Grand Trunk Pub

July 17, 2012 | Detroit Food
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Normally the way this works is that the customer bellies up to the bar and spills his or her story into the ear of a sympathetic bartender. We’re going to reverse that today. This is the story of a bar.

Then:

1870s, Detroit. A retail hub springs up along Woodward Avenue and the Traub Brothers Building, a 4-story wood-frame brick building, is nestled next to Martin Limbauch Hardware and five buildings belonging to a department store called Mabley and Company.  The ground floors of the buildings are devoted to retail space and trade, while the upper stories are residences for the owners of the businesses or renters. Built in 1879, the Traub Bros. & Co. jewelry store later relocates from 612 Woodward Avenue to the southwest corner of Woodward and Grand River, where they retain their reputation as one of the oldest and finest jewelry houses coming out of Detroit and a name synonymous with fine watches and quality sterling silver.

1911, Detroit. Grand Trunk Railway has closed their ticket office at the southwest corner of Woodward and Jefferson and moved it to 612 Woodward. The second story of the building is removed, and a vaulted ceiling, arching 25 feet above the main floor, is installed to evoke the look and feel of railway stations at the time. A rounded arch of paned windows, surrounded by terra cotta detailing with the company’s logo, chandeliers, and carved stonework on the exterior of the building are also added in the renovation. Grand Trunk Railway has had lines throughout the Northeastern United States and Canada and a line connecting Detroit to Chicago for 30+ years and is still expanding, though their main proponent for future lines, Grand Trunk Railway President Charles Melville Hays, will be one of the passengers who lose their lives on the Titanic in April of the following year.

1930s, Detroit. Prohibition ends in 1933, and the space is quickly converted from a place where one purchases tickets to where one purchases beverages as it becomes the bar of the Metropole Hotel.  In the same year the Metropole opens its bar, 1935, two Russian immigrants, the Feigenson Brothers, move their company from 118 Benton Street to 3579 Gratiot Avenue.  Since 1907 they had been producing a beverage that eventually became known as “pop” because of the sound of the bottle being opened. From 1921 on their product is also known as Faygo…because “Feigenson Brothers Bottling Works” just won’t fit on the 7 oz. bottle they distribute it in. The original flavors are based on frosting recipes and the sweet beverage is sold only in Michigan.

Now:

Foran’s Grand Trunk Pub serves up Michigan craft beers along with delicious fare, like their housemade corned beef, in this historic setting—where you can still appreciate the multiple arches of the vaulted ceiling, the carved woodwork with GT logos, and other fine details by the light of the huge chandeliers overhead. And tonight, Tuesday, July 17th, Foran’s is hosting a Faygo Four-Course Dinner, featuring the flavors of a Detroit favorite amid the atmosphere of a Detroit landmark. The “Ginger Ale” First-Course will be Ginger Gazpacho with Candied Portobella Mushrooms; the “Rock ‘n’ Rye” Second-Course is Rock ‘n’ Rye Pulled Pork Slider with Green Beens Alvondine; the “Orange Pop” Third-Course showcases Duck a la Orange Pop with 11 Dairy Mac and Cheese; and the meal finishes with a “Red Pop” Fourth-Course…Red Pop and Cherry Cheesecake with Red Pop Sorbet! The Guest Chefs for the evening will be Mike Torres and Brett Krogh.  Tickets are only $40 (which includes gratuity) and are available at the bar or over the phone.

Oh, and tonight, Foran’s Grand Trunk is honoring not only history and tradition by hosting the Faygo dinner, but also the future…as this event benefits the expansion of bike lanes in Detroit!

So get your tickets now for a delicious taste of the past, present, and future all-in-one Detroit!

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