A few weeks ago, news broke that longtime Bartolotta Restaurants executive chef Adam Siegel was leaving the restaurant company after 21 years. Today Siegel reveals his next move. Siegel, along with business partner/commercial real estate developer Michael DeMichele, will open a fine dining restaurant in Downtown Milwaukee, slated to start serving in spring 2022. The restaurant will serve the cuisine found along the French and Italian Riviera.
Lupi & Iris, as they are calling the restaurant, will occupy 10,500 square feet and be located in the 7Seventy7 high-rise at 777 N. Van Buren St. The restaurant will feature six different dining and drinking areas, including a large outdoor patio, U-shaped bar, elevated lounge, spacious dining room, chef’s counter and private dining room for hosting banquets and special events.
“Michael and I are excited to bring a completely new restaurant to Milwaukee. We both have a passion for food and dining excellence and want the city to have another signature restaurant it can be proud of,” says Siegel, who won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Midwest in 2008. “Unlike other cities, in Milwaukee there’s currently no true fine dining Mediterranean restaurant so we’re eager to fill that gap with Lupi & Iris.”
The restaurant name has personal significance to the partners. Lupi is the name of Siegel’s late father-in-law who spent hours in the kitchen talking as Siegel cooked. DeMichele’s Italian grandmother was named Iris. She emigrated to the U.S. from Campobasso, a city in southern Italy, and was known as a great home cook.
Before joining The Bartolotta Restaurants, Siegel spent his early years working at Spiaggia in Chicago (under the tutelage of Paul Bartolotta), Masa’s in San Francisco, the Michelin two-star San Domenico in Imola, Italy, and Olives in Washington D.C.
Siegel and DeMichele have been friends for years, since their kids attended grade school together. A native of St. Louis, DeMichele has been involved in a number of notable projects throughout the area, including the Milwaukee Ballet’s headquarters, school and performance space in the Third Ward, WANTABLE.com’s headquarters and café in Walker’s Point and the headquarters for Dohmen Life Science Services in the Third Ward. He serves on the board of directors for the Milwaukee Ballet, Radio Milwaukee and the Third Ward Architectural Review Board. In addition, he’s president of BID No. 41 (Downer Ave) and is on the board for BID No. 2 (Historic Third Ward) and BID No. 51 (Harbor District).
The duo is partnering with Knauer Incorporated, an architecture and interior design firm that’s known for working on the Chicago restaurants Gibsons Italia, Le Colonial and Acanto.
“Each decision Michael and I have made so far is based on the fact we’re pouring our heart and soul into Lupi & Iris. We’ve defined a standard of excellence and are adhering to that at every step of the way,” says Siegel, who was involved in opening 20 restaurant concepts during his years at The Bartolotta Restaurants.
A full menu will be developed closer to the opening date in spring 2022.