In this episode of “Behind The Counter,” your host Andy Didorosi talks with Greg Mudge, the owner of Mudgie’s Deli and Wine Shop in Corktown.
Mudgies, which turns nine in February 2017, opened in the midst of a major economic downturn in Detroit. Greg remembers it being a pretty scary time in his life, because although he had worked in restaurants before, he had never actually owned one.
The quiet Corktown corner where Mudgies is located, used to be the home of Eph McNally’s Deli. Before McNally’s closed and Mudgies took its place, Greg waited tables there. “I made a little name for myself,” he says of his time at McNally’s. So, when the deli closed, Greg says he acted fast– “I called the landlord and within a month, we were Mudgies.”
As far as Mudgies’ commitment to local ingredients and products, Greg says that part came relatively easily. “It started with Faygo and Better Made, you know, but then every time I’d turn around, it’d be like ‘Oh, there’s this company now,’” he recalls. And nearly a decade ago, when the deli first opened, urban farmers were hunting down restaurants that might be interested in their produce. Now, Greg has noticed that’s changed because there are so many restaurants popping up throughout the city.
Regardless of the popularity and reputation of Mudgies, Greg says he still just takes his work one day at a time and tries not to get too swept up in the big picture of his deli’s role in the culinary scene of Detroit. “I just go to work everyday and do my thing,” he says. The unique sandwich names on the Mudgies menu also come from that same down to earth mentality. Some of the names are completely made up and intentionally silly, but many bear the name of friends who have helped the deli somewhere along the way.
The final part of this episode includes a quiz, where BTC producer and editor Annamarie Sysling asks Greg about things that rhyme with Mudge. Additional topics discussed during this episode include corned beef, Supino Pizzeria, chili dog soup, Judge Judy, giving a shit and branding the concept of a “Detroit Deli.”