It’s been two months since Coquette Cafe (316 N. Milwaukee St.) called it quits. Remodeling work is currently underway on the former French bistro to transform it into new joint by the chef-owners of nearby DanDan restaurant (360 E. Erie St.).
The owners haven’t released any thematic or name details. But they’ve created the new position of culinary director and hired Matt Haase, who in late March left Ardent (1751 N. Farwell Ave.) after four years there as chef de cuisine. Haase’s position will be shaped by evolving roles – working on menu development; helping with skill-building helping run the day-to-day operations of DanDan, EsterEv (the prix-fixe restaurant inside DanDan) and the new venture; and mentoring the staff.
Other new hires and promotions were meant to build a solid framework for all the restaurants. Blair Herridge, a former sous chef at Bay View’s Goodkind, will be chef de cuisine of the new restaurant.
At DanDan, Kristen Schwab is now chef de cuisine. She joined the restaurant in 2016 as one of two sous chefs, and Jacobs says in that time period Schwab has “pushed the consistency [at DanDan], making it better and better.”
Matt Haase’s departure was followed by two other prominent Ardent staff members – fellow chefs Jackie Woods and Paris Dreibelbis (who won the Ment’or Young Chef Competition in Las Vegas last year). Woods and Dreibelbis are planning to collaborate on pop-up events, and Dreibelbis is also working as an opening consultant for another new (unannounced) restaurant in Milwaukee.