Downtown Port Huron welcomes spring with a new 30,000-square-foot food hall and entertainment venue, Wrigley Hall in Wrigley Center. Founder Dan Dooley says he and his wife, Kim, were inspired by food halls that have been developed as part of revitalization districts in other cities in the nation.
“Ten years ago, there were about 10 food halls across the country; now it’s up to about 500,” Dooley says. “The concept is they are community places. It creates a lot of flexibility in the types of foods you can serve [and] the types of entertainment you can do.”
Dooley says the Wrigley is modeled after others, including The Garage in Indianapolis, Indiana. “It used to be a terrible neighborhood, and they invested in this food hall concept and a lot of other things,” he says about The Garage. Formerly a Wrigley grocery store and subsequently serving as a car dealership and later a furniture store, the building was shuttered until Landmarks Port Huron manager, Larry Jones, bought and converted it into a multi-use residential and retail facility.
The Dooleys are developing Wrigley Hall to offer several bars, including a distillery. “One is an upstairs craft cocktail bar with a self-pour beer wall that’s connected to 4,400 square feet of rooftop space with beautiful views of the city,” Dooley explains. “The second bar is called the Stage Lounge, with more of a cocktail bar feel but a small stage in there for local acts in front of 100 people. Then there’s an additional space that is turning into a game bar, so [there’s] multiple TVs in there, you will have golf and gaming simulators, cornhole, and we are going to do pickleball there on the weekend.”
Soundproofed retractable walls will separate the areas when needed and open so that the entire area can become a concert venue. In total, about 10,000 square feet is dedicated to events and entertainment. Groups will be able to rent various parts of the building for private events.
Multiple food concepts with the idea of supporting local food entrepreneurs will be offered. They will be backed by what Dooley describes as a “ghost kitchen.”
“We will have our own chef, our own staff to support the eateries,” he explains. “So as these entrepreneurs come in and have a passion and a great food concept, we provide all the tools they need to learn to operate a business and do customer service appropriately. We will do all the bulk prep in the main commissary—the ghost kitchen—and the finish prep takes place by the individual stall owner in each stall. That operating model creates a lot of efficiencies.”
Jones says what the Dooleys are creating aligns with what he envisions for the Wrigley Center. “This building is in the heart of our downtown and has the opportunity to bring many people to the downtown,” Jones says. “Dan has the ability to accomplish that vision.”