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The ghosts of the Whitney restaurant watch over the staff

Main entrance of the Whitney
Main entrance of the Whitney

On Woodward Avenue in Detroit stands a Romanesque Revival mansion that is one of Detroit’s finest restaurants. The Whitney was built in 1890 by David Whitney Jr., who was a lumber baron and philanthropist.

The Whitney Restaurant on the corner of Woodward and Canfield in Detroit, Michigan
Patti Hogarty

Recently one evening after closing time, when the staff was cleaning rooms and turning off lights one by one, an older gentleman stood gazing out the 2nd floor window of the private dining room. The lights were off, and Jose Mendoza, a passing security attendant, noticed the silhouette of the stocky man in the window, his silver hair glinting from the street lights below.

“Sir,” said Jose, “Its closing time. You have to go now”. Smoothly, and without a sound or nod of acknowledgement, the man at the window dropped into the floor, as if falling through a trap door. The man was simply gone. Jose shined his flashlight in the room and under all the tables, but he was alone. Jose thinks he had a brief, privileged encounter with the ghost of Mr. Whitney.

The Whitney has an opulent and grand exterior that is can be a bit intimidating. But the staff at The Whitney welcomes everyone to come in and see this gem of Detroit, if only for a look around, a meal or just a drink. The menu is amazing with lunch ranging from $8 - $14, and dinner ranging from $16 to $37.

The second floor seems to be a popular place for meandering spirits. Kristine Rader, the Assistant General Manager, described an experience she had there. “I was with a staff member, and we both saw two shadows pass by, close to the Children’s room. We had to ask each other about it to make sure it wasn’t our imagination.”

When asked if he had any other tips for ghost hunters at The Whitney, Jose said “watch for subtle things. Small objects tend to move for no apparent reason.” While he was giving this advice, the lights accenting the bottles of the bar occasionally turned on and off by themselves. Perhaps it was an electrical issue. Or perhaps someone unseen was joining the conversation.

Other articles about The Whitney: Dining in an American palace at The Whitney, Spirits chill a The Whitney's Ghost Bar

Watch a video from Haunted Travels of Michigan about a ghost hunt at The Whitney.

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