By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jun 22, 2021 at 10:35 AM

After over two decades working with the Bartolotta Restaurants – and overseeing the debut of 20 different dining locations – James Beard Award-winning Chef Adam Siegel shared the news today that he will be opening a new restaurant of his own in Downtown Milwaukee.

The venue, which will be called Lupi & Iris, is slated to open in spring of 2022 in the 7SEVENTY7 building on North Van Buren Street. The fine dining restaurant will showcase Mediterranean style cuisine inspired by the French and Italian Riviera.

To bring the restaurant to fruition, Siegel has partnered with longtime friend Michael DeMichele, a commercial real estate developer, architect and cultural advocate whose work includes notable projects like the Milwaukee Ballet’s Third Ward headquarters, in Walker’s Point and Dohmen Life Science Services. Along with service on various boards, DeMichele is also president of BID No. 41 (Downer Ave) and serves on the board for BID No. 2 (Historic Third Ward) and BID No. 51 (Harbor District).

Together, he says, the two will capitalize on their distinctive skill sets to create a Milwaukee experience unlike any other.

7Seventy7 buildingX

Two passions drawn together by food

Siegel says the two business partners have known one another for years, meeting first through familial connections and building a friendship based on mutual interests.

“We met when our kids both attended school at St. Roberts,” says Siegel, “And we bonded over our mutual passion for food and our shared sense of detail.”

In kind, the name of the restaurant will reflect the partners’ love for family, joining the names of Lupi (Siegel’s late father-in-law) and Iris (DeMichele’s Italian grandmother), both of whom were passionate about food.

“Adam and I both come from families where well-made, flavorful food is extremely important. For each of our families, it was a point of pride,” says DeMichele. “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 says the restaurant is the culmination of years of dreaming  But it’s also something that fills a niche in the Milwaukee market.

“There’s nothing like it here,” he says. “It’s a cuisine that focuses on simplicity in terms of ingredients, something that’s been central to my approach for a long time. Our hope is to honor this premiere location with a casual modern fine dining restaurant that focuses on quality and hospitality.”

“I’m so excited to be doing this in Milwaukee. I’ve really come to admire the city, and I want this to be something that Milwaukeeans can be proud of and love.”

The plans

Lupi & Iris will occupy the 10,500 square foot space along Mason Street which most recently held Maurer’s Urban Market.

Siegel says the restaurant will showcase a wide variety of drinking and dining experiences, from a large 80-seat dining room to an elevated lounge area, U-shaped bar and extensive outdoor patio.

An open kitchen will play host to a chefs’ counter, he says, which will offer guests an interactive experience and a bird’s eye view of the culinary action.

The spacious restaurant will also feature three private dining rooms, including two smaller flexible areas and one that seats nearly 80. 

“The private dining spaces are something we both felt passionate about,” says Siegel. “And we have a vision for activating the spaces and really using them to give our customers distinctive experiences.”

To execute their vision, Siegel and DeMichele have partnered with Knauer Incorporated, an architecture and interior design firm known for their work with various Chicago restaurants, including 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 and Iris. We’ve defined a standard of excellence and are adhering to that at every step of the way,” says Siegel, noting that he plans to share additional details about the project in the months ahead.

In the meantime, the excitement is already building Downtown.

“The entire 7SEVENTY7 Team is ecstatic to welcome Chef Adam Siegel and his newest dining venture to our community," says Lauren Schramka, Bozzuto Property Manager of 7SEVENTY7. “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.”

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.