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Menagerie Kitchen Plots Restaurant and Cocktail Bar Inside Pontiac’s Masonic Temple

The owners are hunting for a chef to helm the project

The Menagerie Lounge will share space with the Lafayette Grande events space inside Pontiac’s former Masonic Temple.
Facebook/Lafayette Grande
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.

Pontiac-based pop-up organizer and culinary incubator Menagerie Kitchen is expanding into a full scale restaurant and cocktail bar this winter. Owners April and James Forbes plan to open a new establishment called Menagerie Lounge inside Pontiac’s former Masonic Temple.

The full-service restaurant will feature a “Southern-influenced” menu with service during lunch and dinner as well as Sunday brunch, according to a release. The Forbes are still in the process of hiring a chef to oversee the kitchen and develop a “small menu with attention to using locally grown produce.” Drinks will be designed to pay “homage to the historic Masonic Temple,” James Forbes says in a statement. “We've been working hard to test and understand our market, and I am confident that we can deliver.”

The building located at 155 N. Saginaw St. was established in 1923 as a home for the mason’s Lodge 21. The Menagerie Lounge will will occupy 4,000-square-feet within the building alongside the The Lafayette Grande events venue. The restaurant will have a separate entrance from The Lafayette Grande and seat roughly 120 diners with an interior developed by local designers and artists.

Menagerie’s expansion was made possible in part through loans by CEED lending and a special small business development grant program in Pontiac call the Flagstar Bank Initiative.

The Menagerie Kitchen debuted at 31 N. Saginaw St. in June 2015, hosting dinners with a rotating array of chefs as well as weekend brunch. Last fall, the Forbes’ temporarily shut down operations but promised to return in an expanded capacity. This spring, The Menagerie reemerged from hibernation inside the Lafayette Market at 154 N. Saginaw St. not far from their soon-to-open restaurant and bar.

April Forbes tells Eater she and her husband intend to continue their partnership with the Lafayette Market by doing pop-ups and facilitating the community kitchen. “It's a great symbiotic relationship,” she says. The Menagerie Lounge is projected to open in February 2018.

Pontiac Pop-Up Venue Moving to Bigger Digs [ED]
The Menagerie Kitchen Brings Pop-Up Dining to Pontiac [ED]
All Expansions Coverage [ED]