It has been a little over three years since I first met Will Branch and Zack Klein, the pair who make up Detroit Corridor Sausage Co., at the Starbucks in downtown Royal Oak.
In January 2010, Branch and Klein were just a couple of guys trying to figure out how to realize their goal of opening a sausage company.
By July 2012, they were moving Corridor Sausage into its new home at 1801 Division St. in Eastern Market, where it makes 500-1,000 pounds of its artisan sausage a week.
The biggest seller is the Vietnamese chicken, made with lemongrass, lime leaf, wild ginger, Thai chilies, shallots and cilantro.
“At first we thought we would have most of our business in restaurants,” Branch said. “But we realized wholesale and grocery has the most potential.”
But that’s not all. Branch and Klein plan to open a food truck tentatively called The Grindhouse.
“A food truck in Los Angeles was called that, so I don’t know if we can,” Branch said.
Branch and Klein are also working to get USDA approval to expand into out-of-state markets.
“The USDA license is hard to get. It’s a meticulous process to get the labels correct,” Branch said. “But our next big push is going to be in grocery stores and markets across state lines.”
When I walked into Corridor Sausage, located just across from the a little-known dive bar called Cutter’s, I was taken in by the smell, in a good way. It reminded me exactly of the now-closed Rafal Spice Co., where I used to buy Jamaican Blue coffee beans for next to nothing.
Klein was busy talking business with a contractor. They were figuring out how to best carve out a charcuterie room while Branch was cutting hamburger patties from a batch he ground for the owners of St. CeCe’s Pub — made up of ground short rib, one of the benefits to being a “meat guy.”
Sitting on a metal table was a lone Bunsen burner and a 10-inch frying pan.
Of course, I was.
Originally Published in Crain’s Detroit Business
Nathan Skid covers the food industry and entertainment.
video by Andrew Templeton