Chef Ben Hall of Russell Street Deli - Biography

Detroit, MI

September 2016

Chef Ben Hall has deep roots in the Detroit food community: his father was one of the last workers on city’s kill floors in Eastern Market during the early 1970s. As a teenager, Hall worked as a dishwasher just down the block from the market at Russell Street Deli, literally learning the food business from the sink up. Now, he and friend Jason Murphy, whom he met at Russell Street, are partners and co-owners of the establishment.

The deli sources from several of its own urban farms and is now Detroit’s lead purchaser of organically grown produce, which they use to produce of an average of 5,000 gallons of vegan, gluten-free, low-sodium soup that they sell specialty grocery stores, soup kitchens, and Detroit’s 55,000 school children—each week. Plus, there’s always a $2 soup on Hall’s menu. 

Hall is a member of the Chef’s Action Network, a networking group of chefs from around the country seeking to positively influence changes to the food system. He has worked on the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act, along with R.A.I.S.E., Restaurants Advancing Industry Standards of Employment, for whom he’s given congressional briefings related to the increase of the minimum wage and the tipped minimum wage. Hall also teaches for the Cooking Matters program, as well as teaching domestic soup classes as a fundraiser for Gleaners, a community food bank.

Currently, Hall and Murphy have a new restaurant project underway in Corktown, the historic section on the western edge of downtown Detroit.