New fine dining restaurant planned in downtown Milwaukee

Adam Siegel and Michael DeMichele will open Lupi & Iris next spring in downtown Milwaukee.

Last updated on June 23rd, 2021 at 02:29 pm

Adam Siegel, former corporate executive chef at The Bartolotta Restaurants, is planning a new fine dining establishment in downtown Milwaukee with local commercial real estate developer Michael DeMichele.

The restaurant, dubbed Lupi & Iris, will open in spring 2022 on the ground floor of the 35-story 7Seventy7 apartment building at 777 N. Van Buren St., which was developed by Northwestern Mutual and completed in 2018. Its menu will focus on Mediterranean cuisine, with flavors from the French and Italian Riviera, according to a news release.

The 10,500-square-foot space previously housed Maurer’s Urban Market, which closed last summer during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lupi & Iris will have 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 that will host banquets and special events.

The announcement comes about two weeks after Siegel’s departure from The Bartolotta Restaurants. During his 21 years with the Milwaukee-based restaurant group, Siegel played an integral role in its growth from three to 17 locations across the area. He first joined the company in 2000 as executive sous chef at Lake Park Bistro, and in 2008, he won a James Beard Award for Best Chef Midwest.

“Michael and I are excited to bring a completely new restaurant to Milwaukee,” said Siegel. “We both have a passion for food and dining excellence and want the city to have another signature restaurant it can be proud of. 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.”

DeMichele is president of DeMichele Co. and principal at WillowTree Development LLC, both based in Milwaukee. Originally from St. Louis, DeMichele moved to Milwaukee in 1995 from Denver and has been involved in several notable projects in area, including the new Milwaukee Ballet facility in the Historic Third Ward, Wantable Inc.’s new office and cafe in Walker’s Point, and Dohmen Life Science Services’ headquarters in the Third Ward.

In addition, DeMichele sits on several boards of directors, including Milwaukee Ballet, Radio Milwaukee, the Third Ward Architectural Review Board and Business Improvement District, the Harbor District BID, and the Downer Avenue BID.

According to the release, Siegel and DeMichele met years ago when both their children attended the same grade school. The pair connected over their passion for food. The name Lupi & Iris was inspired by family members who helped instill that passion. Lupi is the name of Siegel’s late father-in-law who would spend hours in the kitchen talking as Siegel cooked. Iris is the name of DeMichele’s Italian grandmother who emigrated to the U.S. from Campobasso and was a fantastic home cook.

“Adam and I both come from families where well-made, flavorful food is extremely important,” said DeMichele. “For each of our families, it was a point of pride. With Lupi & Iris, we’re taking family pride and applying it to every aspect of the restaurant – from the front of the house to the back. Our promise is to continually deliver outstanding hospitality, service and dining in an amazing environment.”

Siegel and DeMichele have contracted Deerfield, Illinois-based Knauer Inc. to design the space. The architecture and interior design firm is known for its work with a number of Chicago restaurants, including Gibsons Italia, Le Colonial and Acanto.

“The entire 7Seventy7 team is ecstatic to welcome Chef Adam Siegel and his newest dining venture to our community,” said Lauren Schramka, of Bozzuto Property Management, which manages the building’s operations for Northwestern Mutual. “We pride ourselves on creating extraordinary experiences for our residents and we believe this new partnership will elevate not only our 7Seventy7 community but the Milwaukee restaurant scene.”

More details about Lupi & Iris will be released in the coming months.

Lupi & Iris will open on the ground floor of the 7Seventy7 building in spring 2022.

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Maredithe has covered retail, restaurants, entertainment and tourism since 2018. Her duties as associate editor include copy editing, page proofing and managing work flow. Meyer earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University and still enjoys attending men’s basketball games to cheer on the Golden Eagles. Also in her free time, Meyer coaches high school field hockey and loves trying out new restaurants in Milwaukee.

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