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Pop-up dining space the Menagerie in Pontiac is expanding to a full-service restaurant in early 2018 with an executive chef that has worked in some of the most applauded kitchens in Detroit.

Chef Marcus Ware will bring a southern-influenced, chef-driven menu to Menagerie Lounge, which is inside Pontiac’s historic Masonic Temple. Ware first learned to cook from his father, who was a chef, and also went to culinary school. He’s currently the head line cook at Corktown’s Takoi, and in the past has worked in hot Detroit restaurants like Cliff Bell’s, Selden Standard and London Chop House.

“It was important to find a chef whose vision was just as big as mine,” said James Forbes in a press release. He owns the Menagerie with April Forbes. “They had to believe in the concept and have the same level of commitment.”

Ware plans to cook with produce from the nearby Belt Line Farm, and offer an environment to help younger chefs hone their skills.

The 120-seat restaurant, 155 N. Saginaw in Pontiac, is aiming for a February soft opening, and will serve lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch, a full bar and live music on Saturday nights. Keep an eye on menageriekitchen.com for progress.

mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens

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