Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite are giving their North Milwaukee Street restaurant space in the Third Ward another go.
The chef-owner duo behind DanDan and EsterEv is opening a new concept, called Fool's Errand, at the location previously home to their French restaurant, Fauntleroy. The eatery closed last July -- not long before its second anniversary -- at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thanks to relief funds from the federal government, Fool's Errand is slated to open April 1, on the first floor of The Landmark Building at 316 N. Milwaukee St. Diners can get a first taste during the restaurant's soft opening on March 19 and 20 by placing carryout orders now through Tock.
"It breathes some life into a space that we had to close during the summer, and we never really wanted to," said Dan Jacobs. "I think it's also giving us an opportunity to rethink what we did there, try something new."
Fool's Errand will serve its owners' take on American comfort food, he said. The menu includes smoked gouda mac and cheese, BLT sandwich, matzo ball soup, deviled eggs, and grandma's potato salad, just to name a few. It will offer an "approachable" beer, wine and cocktail list.
The atmosphere will also reflect comfort. The interior won't look much different, but it'll feel more laid back than the previous concept, which was known as a special occasion restaurant, where diners would visit only once or twice a year, said Jacobs.
That was part of the problem once the pandemic hit. As a result, Fauntleroy's second quarter sales were down 90%, Jacobs told BizTimes shortly after closing the restaurant last summer.
"We really want this (new restaurant) to speak to the neighborhood and give people the opportunity, with a large menu and really familiar items, to come back again and again and try new stuff," he said.
After closing Fauntleroy, Jacobs and Van Rite held on to the lease for the space as well as the restaurant's management and some staff. A second round of PPP funding allowed the business to rehire additional staff needed to launch the new concept.
But overall, the pandemic has been horrible for business, said Jacobs. DanDan, located just blocks away at 306 E. Erie St., is making less than 50% of its 2019 sales with carryout, delivery and limited indoor seating.
Read the March 8 issue of BizTimes Milwaukee here: