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The D Loft Expands with Food Incubator in Oak Park

The D Loft Café brings together the city’s “food-preneurs” for growth and networking.

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Photo by William Patterson

Brandi C. Shelton, owner and founder of The D Loft, describes the brand as a “collaboration.” She says, “It’s not a banquet facility, and I wouldn’t restrict it to just an incubation space, either. D Loft is a social engagement environment. We host events, but we also do conferences and seminars and we help people looking to build their businesses.”

The newest branch, the D Loft Café, opened last August as a social space for “food-preneurs” and restaurant hopefuls to develop their best dishes and grow a following around their unique culinary styles.

“The café brings fellowship to the food environment. We find people with these amazing gifts and talent for food and give them a platform for their grand ideas,” Shelton says. “D Loft loves the weird, diverse and quirky. The more innovative and delicious, the better.”

D Loft Café currently supports 35 tastemakers from a range of colorful backgrounds, all from metro Detroit. Once they pass their audition, they’re interviewed, trained and given a crash course in culinary business before claiming a space in the kitchen The D Loft shares with Fellowship Chapel.

From there, the fellows start preparing grab-and-go dishes for The D Loft’s themed days and events. The most popular dish right now is probably the shrimp and grits three ways, a creation by Chef Clinton Moore that Shelton says has people “breaking the door down.”

She says, “Networking is huge here. We’re very close – we share everything. We support each other and our events. The group chat is lit! D Loft is like the jack-of-all-trades of community engagement, in the best way possible.”

13710 W. Nine Mile Road, Oak Park