Pontiac’s Menagerie Prepares to Open, Seeking Artists

Pontiac’s New Restaurant Menagerie Prepares to Open, Seeking Artists

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan. 7, 2018)

Pontiac, MI – As the Menagerie Lounge prepares for their Feb. 2018 opening in Downtown Pontiac, entrepreneurs and culinary creators April and James Forbes are looking for the finishing touches to make their newest venture one to remember.

They are finalizing the menu, which is to change seasonally, features Southern influenced food and craft cocktails, beer and wine.  They’ll be serving lunch and dinner through the week, and brunch on Sundays.

And they are looking for local artists to exhibit there.

“Having art in our space is very important The Menagerie has always highlighted the talents of others through ART whether that was culinary, music and we want to continue to involve the community by giving a platform for people to share there love of art with others,” April said.

“Currently the art that we are looking for is themed music or Pontiac, past and future.  We do not have limitations as to what the art style is and how it’s interpreted. All mediums are welcomed as long as they are within the theme.”

The artists may sell their work from the walls, with the artist being able to keep 100% of the sale price.

The Forbes have taken their passion for food and entrepreneurship to increasingly bold levels. Prior to this venture they hosted pop-up dinners that provided attendees with unique dining and entertainment experiences. In 2012 they won “Cupcake Wars” and operated two locations of The Cakeria, which closed in 2013.  For The Menagerie Lounge,  Chef Marcus Ware who previously was a lead cook at Takoi in Detroit, will be the Chef. Among their vendors will be Belt Line Farms, an organic produce farm that recently located in Pontiac.

In addition to the full time lounge, located inside the historic Lafayette Building at 155N. Saginaw St, the Forbes plan to continue their successful pop-up lounge events through the Metro Detroit Area.

James  Forbes, in announcing Menagerie Lounge said, “ The  Lounge will be a gathering place for all to  enjoy quality  food  at  an  approachable  price  point ,  exemplary service,  and cocktails  paying  homage to the historic  Masonic Temple .  We’ve been working hard to test and understand our market, and I am confident that we can deliver.”

When asked about advice for other entrepreneurs, April Forbes said “Our advice for other entrepreneurs is ‘stay the course’ Entrepreneurship means that sometimes you wear many hats and you have to be willing to learn what you don’t know. Some months are good others are not. But if you’re consistent with your goals and no matter what comes your way you keep going, you will reap the benefits.”

The couple is grateful for everyone who has encouraged them along the way. Among those helping the fulfill their dreams is Flagstar Bank who supplied a $25 grant, and $35,000 in CEED Loans that have helped the couple to do the remodeling required to open The Menagerie Lounge.

They’re hoping to pay that forward by giving local artists a place to display and sell their work, while also promoting the arts and Pontiac’s community spirit.


“All paintings must be original ideas with a description of the meaning or inspiration typed for us to use.
“The works of art should be themed: Music or Pontiac past or future. All art will be subject to approval. Art should be Canvas or if using paper it must be framed Maximum size is 30×40 minimum size is12×16 all mediums will be considered the preferred is acrylic , watercolor, pencil, charcoal. Photography is also welcomed! We can/will make exceptions for other kinds of materials (metal, clay etc.) Also an artist agreement must be signed. Again there are NO costs to sell your art. All art will be displayed for 6 months before a new rotation of art is accepted.
All interested artists should email: Menageriekitchen@gmail.com



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