Trenton’s Grand Hotel Gets New Life

Back From the Brink: Once condemned, Trenton’s Grand Hotel gets new life as TV’s Grand Event
Photographs by Josh Scott

The three-story, turreted building with verandas wrapped around its sturdy red-brick exterior stands on West Jefferson Avenue as it has since 1895, a relic of the Victorian era in which it was built as a hotel. The fact that it’s survived is something of a miracle, given that at one point, the city of Trenton condemned it.

Now it has new life, as TV’s Grand Event, a catering venue for weddings, banquets, and business meetings. The letters TV stand for proprietors Tracey and Victor Stroia.

The structure, originally called the Grand Hotel, was saved from the wrecking ball initially by a local investor, who bought and remodeled it from the foundation up and opened its rooms for fine dining. Unfortunately, he died shortly thereafter, and the building went into foreclosure.

Yet another group of investors bought it, but after a couple of years, they lost interest in the project when fine dining went into a decline. That made way for the Stroias, who took over in 2010 and opened it as a catering facility to augment their Trenton restaurant, TV’s Deli & Diner, which they opened in 1995 — coincidentally, exactly 100 years after the hotel was built.

Although they first thought of the hotel as a location strictly for catering, the couple says that in order to keep the liquor license in effect, they needed to open it to the public. So in addition to its private events, it’s open for cocktails and dinner on a regular basis Wednesday through Friday.

Chef Tim Giznsky worked with Victor Stroia years ago at the now-closed Chambertin in Dearborn and later at Opus One (where Giznsky was the chef for 25 years). He joined TV’s Grand Event last year. Giznsky prepares a creative menu of small plates and entrees that changes every month, as well as the fare for catered events. With live entertainment Thursday and Friday, and a jazz group on the first Wednesday of the month — as well as a wine dinner on the third Wednesday — it’s once again becoming a Downriver mecca.

The Stroias were also able to snare a few former Opus One waiters and managers when the downtown restaurant closed last year, giving TV’s Grand Event some professional polish. The catering business has been so good, Victor says, that the Grand Event is booked most weekends.

The gorgeously carved and mirrored Brunswick backbar, the kind of elaborately carved wood and mirrored adornment common in 1895 but that is now a precious relic, is one of the focal points of the vintage building, as well as its grand staircase.

Victor, who grew up Downriver, was always aware of the old structure but never imagined that he would someday own it. “I think it’s the coolest building Downriver,” he says. “I want to keep it for generations of my family.” The Stroias are working with the Trenton Historical Society to have it designated as a historic building.

TV’s Grand Event, 2651 W. Jefferson, Trenton; 734-671-5676.