Phorks Grill takes Detroiters by storm

Prepare your forks to enjoy a dish that is gaining in popularity. The pandemic has helped many entrepreneurs achieve and realize their dreams, giving them time to focus on their craft. A local Detroiter started a restaurant from his grandmother’s house and is now opening his first brick-and-mortar location; Grill of Seals.

Courtney Moore is taking over the crab industry one dish at a time. What started as a restaurant business of the same name has become one of Detroit’s latest hotspots. Cooking shellless crab, Moore decided to turn his restaurant business into a full-time business.

“I had a restaurant business that focused primarily on soul food and I got into a unique seafood business where we shelled the crab for you,” Moore says.

The idea was born from a favorite pastime shared between a mother and her daughter. After meeting a restaurant customer who saw their method of crab smashing, the evolution of Phorks began to take shape.

“People were always fascinated to watch my mom and I eat it when we go out to eat, so I just thought it would be really cool to put it on a menu so people can enjoy it the same way we do. and it kind of took off from there,” says Moore.

A true crab lover, the owner of Phorks is able to differentiate the crab from the regions and determine the quality of each.

“I wouldn’t say a crab connoisseur, but I am. I can look at a crab and tell its size. I can tell from the taste if it’s Russian, Canadian. I can tell,” Moore says.

Phorks Grill offers a variety of dishes, but none more popular than crab. Capitalizing on the crab boom, Moore has developed a concept that many restaurants don’t offer. By serving crab without its shell, Moore was able to create crab boil bags without the extra hassle, leaving crab lovers able to indulge their favorite with strife.

Seafood specialties, especially crab, are known to break the bank. The owner of Phorks spends thousands of dollars every week delivering quality products to customers. To showcase the finished product, she and a small team of employees spend hours shelling more than 400 pounds of crab each week.

“I spend maybe about $7,500 a week or more on crabbing. People think I just charge. A minimum of thirty pounds of crab costs $600,” Moore says.

Courtney Moore, owner of Phorks Grill

Beyond Phorks, Moore has a bigger plan for his restaurant. In addition to the brick-and-mortar location, Moore plans to expand his business into a full-scale operation. Pushing to be the first in her trade, the crab connoisseur wants to open doors for others by becoming a major player in the seafood game.

“For the most part, I haven’t seen black females in the crab trade. People have restaurants and they sell seafood, but they’re not like me,” Moore says. “I ship frozen crab across the country. I ship to all states. I think I’m the first black woman in my age group to be pretty much even into crabbing or crabbing like that.

Moore managed to keep a low profile while building her brand. Often confused with being male or part of a larger conglomerate, the Crab Queen has used anonymity in her favor.

“Half the time when people talk about Phorks, they don’t even know she’s a black woman. I kept a bit of a low profile for the most part. I have no problem with my face being there. I never really did, so people know who I was,” Moore says.

Phorks Grill will expand its operations this summer with a showcase. The menu will include classic shelled crab as well as fried rice, seafood alfredos, sandwiches and several other dishes. The menu will also feature their signature flavored butters. Scheduled to open in early summer, Phorks Grill will find its new home at 20430 W. 7 Mile Road.

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