Upon entering the Grand Trunk Pub, it’s easy to sense the ghosts of the building’s grandiose past as a famous Detroit jewelry store and railway ticket office. A cavernous ceiling of joined arches hangs above a narrow hall bordered by paneled wood, mirrors, and small wooden tables. Subdued light emanates from a chandelier and tiny blue lamps. Through a door on the right is an adjacent room that accommodates additional customers during crowded weekend nights. The whole layout speaks to an original purpose other than food and libations.
The space that houses the Grand Trunk Pub was once owned by the Traub Brothers, jewelers who set up shop there in 1879. After popularizing the “orange blossom” engagement ring (orange blossoms were associated with purity and innocence, and were thus a favored symbol for soon-to-be brides), the brothers’ business boomed, and they needed something more spacious. After selling the place to the Montreal-based Grand Trunk Railway, they relocated. The railway used this strategic location as a ticketing station from 1905 to 1935, when the automobile industry supplanted that of the iron horse in Detroit.
Since then, the space has been used for mostly restaurants, falling in and out of fortune. Its most recent iteration as the Grand Trunk Pub has been a success, and the new owner is committed to his Michigan loyalty. He exclusively serves Michigan beers, and, when possible, he sources the ingredients for his delicious pub food from within the state.
Know Before You Go
The Grand Trunk Pub is downtown, so if you're staying within walking distance, it's worth going on foot. You'll pass by numerous historical buildings, new shops, and restaurants, and will avoid the parking hassle.