Historic neighborhood church, abandoned for years, transformed into coffee shop in Detroit – MLive.com

DETROIT – This historic house of worship has been renovated, restored and transformed into a neighborhood coffee shop and cafe. The Congregation opened this morning in Detroit’s Boston Edison Neighborhood at 9321 Rosa Parks Blvd.

Owner Betsy Murdoch said it was fate she found this old abandoned church a few blocks from her home. With no restaurant experience, she decided to take a leap of faith and give new life to this building.

“The church was kind of a dream property for one of my business partners. One day she was driving by and the doors were wide open so she decided to venture in and there was a realtor who was looking to list the property. It was almost like a fate-type situation.”

a church turned into a coffee shop in detroit

A church pew being used inside The Congregation coffee shop, located at 9321 Rosa Parks Blvd. in Detroit. (Photo by Edward Pevos | MLive)

The church dates back to around 1920. It held its last services in 2016 and was left abandoned. Murdoch says she thought this was the perfect place to create a coffee shop as a place for people to gather.

“Myself and my business partners all live in the community and we came up with the idea of something that we all really wanted for our neighbors and for us to enjoy, somewhere to walk to. What we really wanted was a community space, someplace we can all come together, meet our neighbors. Really engage the community. What better place than that than to do it in a church because that’s exactly what it’s meant for.”

a church turned into a coffee shop in detroit

The giant window in the front of The Congregation coffee shop located at 9321 Rosa Parks Blvd. in Detroit. (Photo by Edward Pevos | MLive)

Murdoch salvaged quite a bit of the church during the renovation.

“All of the stain glass windows are restored and original. We kept the original maple wood flooring. This room was full of pews. Our carpentry team came up with the idea of repurposing that wood into the bar. We really tried to keep a lot of the natural elements of the church space alive and then just kind of make it our own, too.”

There’s also an organ from the 1800s that Murdoch plans to restore. “The organ is actually much older than the church building itself. It was built originally in the 1800s, rebuilt in 1904 and then installed here in 1920 when the church was built.”

a church turned into a coffee shop in detroit

The historic organ inside The Congregation coffee shop located at 9321 Rosa Parks Blvd. in Detroit. (Photo by Edward Pevos | MLive)

Food and drinks: Murdoch is working with local roaster, Great Lakes Coffee, for the coffee and espresso drinks. There are also specialty items with house made syrups. They serve Harney and Sons tea and make hot cocoa with Ghirardelli chocolate. The food menu is quick serve food like salads, sandwiches and little shareable plates. They also serve beer, wine and cocktails.

The Congregation hours:

Monday – Thursday from 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Friday from 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Sunday from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.


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