Get your forks ready to indulge in a dish that is rising in popularity. The pandemic helped many entrepreneurs realize and execute their dreams, allowing time to pour into their crafts. A local Detroiter launched a restaurant from her grandmother’s home and is now opening her first brick and mortar location; Phorks Grill.
Courtney Moore is taking over the crab industry one dish at a time. What began as a catering company of the same name has grown into one of Detroit’s latest hotspots. Dishing up shell-free crab, Moore got cracking on transforming her catering business into a full-time venture.
“I had a catering business that mainly focused on soul food and I branched off into a unique seafood business where we would shell the crab for you,” says Moore.
The idea was birthed from a favorite pastime shared between a mother and daughter. After an encounter with a restaurant patron who viewed their method of crab cracking, the evolution of Phorks began to take shape.
“People were always fascinated watching my mother and I eat it when we will go out to eat so I just thought it would be really cool to put it on a menu so people could enjoy it the same way we do and it kind of took off from there,” says Moore.
A true crab aficionado, the Phorks owner is able to differentiate crab from 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 what size it is. I can tell from the taste if it’s Russian, Canadian. I can tell,” says Moore.
Phorks Grill offers a variety of dishes, but none are more popular than crab. Capitalizing on the crab boom, Moore developed a concept many restaurants do not provide. By serving crab free from its shell, Moore has been able to create crab boil bags with no added hassle leaving crab lovers able to indulge in their favorite with strife.
Seafood delicacies, particularly crab, have been known to break the bank. The Phorks owner spends thousands of dollars each week to deliver quality products for customers. To present the finished product, she and a small team of employees spend hours shelling upwards of 400 pounds of crab each week.
“I spend maybe about $7,500 a week or more on crab. People think I’m just charging. Thirty pounds of crab at minimum is $600,” says Moore.
Beyond Phorks, Moore has a larger plan for her restaurant. In addition to the brick-and-mortar location, Moore plans to extend her business into a large scale operation. Pushing to be of the first in her craft, 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 any Black females in the crab business. People have restaurants and they sell seafood, but they’re not into it like I am,” says Moore. “ I ship frozen crab across country. I ship it to all states. I would think I’m the first Black lady of my age group roughly to even be into crab or crabbing like that.”
Moore has managed to keep a low profile while building her brand. Often confused with being a male or a part of a larger conglomerate, the queen of crab has used the anonymity to her favor.
“Half of the time when people talk about Phorks, they don’t even know it’s a Black lady. I stayed a little discreet for the most part. I have no problem with my face being out there. I just never really did so people know who I was ,” says Moore.
Phorks Grill will expand its business this coming summer with a storefront location. The menu will include classic shelled crab along with fried rice, seafood alfredo, sandwiches and several other dishes. The menu will also feature their iconic flavored butters. Set to open at the top of the summer, Phorks Grill will find its new home at 20430 W. 7 Mile Road.