DanDan’s Chef-owners are Creating a New Iron Horse Hotel Restaurant

The two Dans are at it again.

Chefs Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite ‒ known for their Third Ward restaurants DanDan, Fauntleroy and the prix-fixe, open-weekends-only EsterEv ‒ announced today their status as long-term consultants for the The Iron Horse Hotel (500 W. Florida St.).

The duo’s hospitality business, named JVR Group, will create new menus for the hotel’s Branded bar, The Yard and its banquet and catering. In bigger news, they will replace Smyth ‒ with its Midwest-inspired menu ‒ with a completely new concept restaurant. Smyth’s closing date is May 1.

Iron Horse Hotel; photo courtesy of Visit Milwaukee

With planning in its early stages, they’re not at the point of sharing the name or menu but says the hearth they plan to install in the dining room will be a major part of driving the menu.

Prior to opening their restaurants, both helmed kitchens that utilized wood-fired cooking sources (Jacobs at the former Wolf Peach, Van Rite at the former Hinterland Gastropub). The “simple, classic” American-style cuisine that Jacobs says their new concept will offer is tailor-made for a wood-burning hearth.

New menus for all the restaurants are expected to launch in late May, coinciding with the season opening of The Yard.



Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.