Long shuttered Detroit church transformed into cafe featuring coffee, cocktails

Bars made out of old pews

DETROIT – A church on Detroit’s west side that closed more than 20 years ago will serve a new purpose -- and coffee.

The church on Rosa Parks Boulevard, just south of Chicago Boulevard, opened in the 1920s but eventually shuttered and sat abandoned for years.

“One day my business partner was driving by and it was just like fate. The doors were wide open and it happened to be a realtor who was getting ready to list the property," said Betsy Murdoch, co-owner of The Congregation.

Plans to renovate the space into a restaurant started more than three years ago, and work started last summer.

Murdoch said the renovations including keeping flair from what once filled the space, as the church pews were re-purposed into bars.

“The building wasn’t really disturbed at all while it sat vacant. A lot of what we had to do were just your infrastructure items. So electrical plumbing, mechanical, HVAC, things like that. New roof," Murdoch said.


The Congregation will serve coffee and pastries in the morning and cocktails and small bites in the evening.

The cafe opens March 5. Street parking is available.