Detroit communities react to the sudden death of beloved Mudgie's Deli owner Greg Mudge

click to enlarge Greg Mudge of Mudgie's Deli died at the age of 46 on Sunday morning. - Dontae Rockymore
Dontae Rockymore
Greg Mudge of Mudgie's Deli died at the age of 46 on Sunday morning.
The Detroit culinary community as well as the many guests who frequent one of the best sandwich shops in the country, are mourning a major loss.

Greg Mudge, owner of beloved Corktown hotspot Mudgie's Deli — and, according to the outpour of love on social media, one of the kindest souls in the biz and the heart of Corktown — died early Sunday. He was 46.

The cause of death is unknown, however Mudge's mother Sandy Pressley confirmed her son's death on Facebook and has said his passing was sudden and not related to COVID-19.

"I can't even," Pressley wrote on Facebook. "This morning heaven gained a special angel. My son who had the biggest heart and would do anything for anyone has passed away. I am beyond numb. To know him was to love him and so, so many did. He has left a hole in my heart that will never be replaced. I love you, Greg Mudge!"

Mudge opened Mudgie's Deli in 2008 at 1300 Porter Street after Eph McNally's, a popular eatery where Mudge worked, closed. He was also a photographer and a DJ.

It was under Mudge's leadership that Mudgie's became a celebrated, award-winning, best of list-making mainstay in the Detroit area. The deli attracts out-of-town visitors, residents, and Mudge's culinary/hospitality peers alike with an expansive menu of creative sandwiches for meat eaters and herbivores, as well as sides, and wines.

"I have no words for this loss," Bobcat Bonnie's owner Matthew Buskard wrote on Facebook. "Greg was always one of the best, most helpful and just good people I've ever known. I still just cannot believe this is actually true."

Batch Brewing Co. owner Stephen Roginson reflected on his "dear friend, colleague, and neighbor."

"I hope that at some point, each of you develop a friendship like I had with him," Roginson wrote. "Finding support in a harsh business reality is difficult to do. His leadership made life easier for me, as well as countless others. We will continue to navigate this world, but we will be lesser for it since we don’t have Greg helping us enter this reality with his kindness and enthusiasm."

Former restaurant critic Mark Kurlyandchik called Mudge "one of the realest human beings" he had the fortune to know.

"A gentle goofball with a heart of gold and a love for life — an underdog’s underdog who gave all of himself to his community. Detroit is a dimmer place without him. I will miss him terribly."

Detroit News' restaurant writer and critic Melody Baetens Malosh called Mudge's death a "total gut punch and a huge loss."

Southwest staple Duly's Place applauded Mudge's dedication to the community and those in his orbit.

"Greg has been active supporting events and charities throughout Corktown and Southwest Detroit for many years," Duly's Place Facebook shared. "A very kind and caring man, he began his business way before so much took off and exploded in the Corktown area. Took over the business that was most known as Eph McNally’s way back in the day and before that was known as O’Leary’s tea house. Mudgie’s is a great place to grab a sandwich to go and we hope the family will be able to continue on his legacy."

Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist also took to social media to reflect on Mudge's impact on the Detroit community.

"He will be missed but not forgotten, Gilchrist continued. "Every friend, neighbor, fellow entrepreneur/restauranteur, patron, and beneficiary of his generosity now has a responsibility to be better people and make Greg proud. Prayers and condolences for his family and all who knew him well."

Mudgie's will remain closed until Thursday to allow for staff to process the loss.

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