After several short months without a restaurant, chef Garrett Lipar tells Eater he plans to merge with chef/owner David Gilbert's acclaimed Marais restaurant in Grosse Pointe. The new Marais will attempt to heighten Michigan's culinary reputation, says Lipar. "This is a chance for Michigan to have a restaurant that we can really hang our hat on."
"We want to be one of the 100 best restaurants in the world."
Marais shuttered for minor updates this week and will reopen Friday under Lipar's stewardship, promoting a Michigan-inspired menu that spotlights local purveyors and preservation techniques. "This food is not Marais food. It's not Torino's food. It's something that's completely different," Lipar says. "We want to be one of the 100 best restaurants in the world."
While Lipar has been traveling off and on since the sudden closure of acclaimed Ferndale restaurant Torino, the chef did offer some signs on Instagram that a new project was in the works. Lipar says he's been in talks with his friend David Gilbert for some time now, but says it felt right from the start. "With a space like this I get a chance to refine my style and my team's style." Stay tuned for more details.
Update, 09/02, 9:30 a.m.: In an interview late Tuesday evening, Lipar revealed further details regarding his new partnership with Marais. The chef, who's spent the last several days settling into his expansive new restaurant and kitchen, acknowledges that he entertained several offers at multiple restaurants within and outside of Michigan but felt that he by merging with fellow culinary talent David Gilbert, he could take his skills and service to the next level. "I'm not saying I'll be here forever," he says of his decision to stay in Metro Detroit, "but we want to finish what we started."
Along with Lipar, three along with three other Torino alums also joined Marais "family" of staff. David Gilbert, he confirms, will be taking on a more overarching role in the restaurant, helping with sourcing and maintaining of the restaurant. "Chefs sometimes take all the credit... but it's a team of people that make great restaurants great," Lipar adds.
Diners visiting Marais following the relaunch will find a few changes in the style and format of the restaurant. Lipar is aiming to strip away clutter in favors of more streamlined table settings — linens, water glasses, candles, minimal silverware, new plates, and floral and herbal arrangements that reflect the restaurant's ingredients. Lipar says he'll offer both a tasting menu (ranging between 9 and 16 well-paced courses) and a brief list of a la carte options. Menus will be presented as a list of purveyors and ingredients rather than specific dishes, allowing for more flexibility in preparation, and will be updated quarterly with changing seasons. Marais is already taking reservations for this weekend.