Restaurant Review: The Congregation Detroit

Community, coffee and connection in a repurposed congregation. Anyone else a fan of unique places to dine or grab a coffee? Last weekend a friend was in town for a yoga retreat and asked if I wanted to meet up. I of course agreed and she mentioned going to The Congregation Detroit. I take pride in knowing about fun spots—especially ones that repurposed buildings. But I had to admit, I had never heard of The Congregation before.

The Congregation is located at
9321 Rosa Parks Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48206

The Congregation was previously used as a church, and today it’s still used to gather, but in a different way. With a coffee, food and bar menu, The Congregation Detroit is offering a unique experience with fun vibes and great food and drinks.

The tagline of The Congregation is coffee, cafe, cocktails, community and let me tell you it reads true. If you’re looking for a unique place to grab a drink or some food while in Detroit I can’t recommend The Congregation enough. Whether you’re visiting Detroit or looking for something to do, head over to The Congregation for a unique and gorgeous experience.

What I ordered at The Congregation Detroit

I always love seeing what people order, so you know I had to share with you what I enjoyed eating and drinking.
To Drink: London Fog Tea Latte
earl grey tea with house made lavender simple syrup and steamed almond milk.
To Eat: Ricotta Toast
toasted sourdough bread topped with ricotta, seasonal fruit compote, toasted almonds and orange zest.

The History of The Congregation

The Congregation sits within a regular Detroit historical neighborhood, and is packed with history and culture. The structure was built in 1924 after a small chapel for the congregation of St. Luke’s Evangelical Church had a fire and burnt to the ground in 1917. It took a number of years after the fire for the congregation to secure financing due to the high prices during the war period.  

Eventually the property fell into the hands of the Home Mission Board and Church Extension Society of the United Lutheran Church in America. From there, they worked towards securing the funding to erect the church structure that is standing here today.  It was built by Spier and Gehrke Architects to become the Unity English Lutheran Church.

This church stands the true test of time. One block North of the origination of the 1967 Rebellion, the church remained intact and undisturbed.  At some point between the 1950s and 1960s, the original stained glass feature window was removed and blocked up. The goal when restoring and renovating the structure was to install a modern interpretation of what once was there. The new feature window installed in early 2020, is a stainless steel art piece built by The Nordin Brothers of Detroit.

While the interior of the building has remained structurally the same, The Congregation has put their focus on preserving the integrity, historical detail and finishes of the space. Great efforts were taken to restore all original stained glass double-hung windows, original maple flooring, and a 150 year old organ to ensure the interior space maintains its original feel of a church. 

The Organ at The Congregation

The organ, a major focal point of the interior, originally built by Samuel Russell Warren around 1870 for St Thomas Belleville, Ontario and rebuilt by Casavant in the early 1900’s, still stands tall in the Northwest corner of the main room. It made its way to this Detroit building sometime in the 1940’s or 1950’s.  

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