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Marais restaurant taking over two storefronts in Grosse Pointe

The Village in downtown Grosse Pointe is getting a new restaurant, one with a French influence that will take over two storefronts on Kercheval Avenue and be run by a couple connected to culinary standouts in metro Detroit and in Europe.

Marais, owned by David and Monica Gilbert, will be an upscale white tablecloth French restaurant at the corner of Kercheval Avenue and St. Clair, says Jennifer Palms Boettcher, president and executive director of the Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce.

The Gilberts have traveled the world learning about food and have cut their chops at the best of the best in the restaurant arena. David Gilbert cooked at top Michelin-rated restaurants in Europe. He and Monica Gilbert left Brian Polcyn's award-winning Forest Grill in Birmingham, where he was executive chef and she was general manager, to build Marais in Grosse Pointe, where the couple lives.

Opening day for Marais could come by August, says James V. Bellanca, an attorney who negotiates lease deals for the family that owns several pieces of property in the Village. Part of the French bistro will be pub and private dining area. The other will be the dining room, says Bellanca. At 6,100 square feet, he says it will be the largest restaurant in Grosse Pointe.

"With David's design and reputation and experience this is going to be an exceptional operation," Bellanca says.

The current occupants of the two storefronts, one a prominent, window-wrapped space at the corner of Kercheval and St. Clair, the other a long narrow space, are moving out so that renovations can begin.

The Grosse Pointe Art Center and Bellissima women's clothing and bridal boutique have found new locations. The art center is moving a block away on Kercheval, and Bellisima is moving to Mack Avenue in Grosse Pointe Woods.

Marais will add variety to the Village, which is home food-wise to two bagel shops, two bakeries, two coffee shops, two casual restaurants and City Kitchen, a slightly upscale restaurant and bar that's expanding its bar.

The expansion and the coming of Marais is building on a buzz across all the Pointes as metro Detroit restaurateurs show some love to the community, where residents are used to leaving town for variety and often asking, "Why not here?"

"I think there is great opportunity for restaurants and other businesses to locate in the Village," says Grosse Pointe City Manager Peter Dame.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Peter Dame, Grosse Pointe city manager, and Jennifer Palms Boettcher, president and executive director, Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce
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