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Chef Norman Fenton Leaving Tom’s Oyster Bar and Ale Mary’s, Joins Alinea Group in Chicago

Fenton is joining the team at lauded Fulton Market cocktail lounge The Aviary.

Norman Fenton
Norman Fenton
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Norman Fenton, executive chef at Tom's Oyster Bar and Ale Mary's Beer Hall in Royal Oak, is moving on to Chicago this month. Fenton will join the team at world-renowned Fulton Market cocktail lounge The Aviary, owned by Alinea Group's Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas.

Fenton was named executive chef Tom's and Mary's last September and gave both eateries updated menus. However, he couldn't pass up an opportunity to work in a high-caliber restaurant in a larger market. "It's one of those experiences where you've got to take a step back to take a leap forward," he adds. "It's something I need to do to get to where I want to be in my career."

Visiting The Aviary in January, known for its fusion of molecular gastronomy and mixology, was an "eye-opening experience" for Fenton. Compared to Metro Detroit's somewhat transient restaurant market,  "everybody who was in the kitchen [at The Aviary] wanted to be there and they would do whatever they could to stay there and work and everybody worked just as hard as the person next to them," he says. Fenton last day at Tom's Bistro and Ale Mary's is March 20. He'll join The Aviary as Chef de Partie on April 1. So far, Tom's and Ale Mary's have not named his replacement.

Ale Mary's Beer Hall

316 South Main Street, , MI 48067 (248) 268-1939 Visit Website

Tom's Oyster Bar

318 South Main Street, , MI 48067 (248) 541-1186 Visit Website