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Former Umami Moto chef Justin Carlisle's New Restaurant Plans
The East Side digs and small, focused menu promise to be unlike anything else in town.

Ardent is the apt name of Justin Carlisle’s restaurant-to-come (1751 N. Farwell Ave., a one-time flower shop and Middle Eastern cafe). The former Umami Moto chef scrapped plans to open two joints in the old Holiday House digs in the Third Ward and is doing things on his own, sans investors, Carlisle says. Unlike his original plans (opening two restaurants, side by side), tiny Ardent will occupy 909 square feet, serve dinner on Wednesday and Saturday nights, and have seating for 15 to 20 diners by reservation only. Procuring beef from his parents’ Sparta farm is a given, as well as getting other ingredients from Wisconsin farms. Carlisle tells me the menu will offer about a dozen items (nothing to exceed $25). The oft-mentioned "farm to table" approach will be in play here. For instance, Carlisle has hooked up with Wisconsin cheese maker Bruce Workman (of Edelweiss Creamery) for a milk course that not only uses the dairy's cheese but its milk as well. The space will have "living" walls -- in other words, a green wall or indoor garden growing herbs and lettuces used in the cuisine. He plans to use the herbs for tea service. Materials he's looking at for the interior include slate, wood and tin (for the ceiling). Carlisle will also have a small bar serving beer and wine. If all goes as planned, Ardent will open this September.

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