By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Jun 29, 2010 at 12:53 PM

John Chitko, former co-owner and chef of Yaffa Restaurant and Lounge and Byron's Beer Garden and Bistro, will join Hotel Metro as Café Metro's executive chef on July 7.

Hotel Metro's current chef, Jerry Garcia, is leaving to "further his endeavors and to spend more time with his family." Garcia has been at Hotel Metro since February 2009.

"Jerry came to us at the perfect time," said Sue Kinas, general manager, Hotel Metro. "We absolutely understand and appreciate his wish to spend time with his children and respect his desire to pursue his dreams. When one door closes, another opens, and behind the new door we are pleased to introduce Executive Chef John Chitko."

A 1993 Franklin High graduate and 2003 graduate of the Art Institute of New York City with a certificate in culinary arts, Chitko's skills lean toward seasonal, fresh, Mediterranean influenced fine dining.

"I'm looking to introduce a diverse menu of healthy, ethnically-inspired items, but items that are most requested by our customers," said Chitko. "The opportunity Hotel Metro has given me is truly a canvas for my artwork and I look forward to creating a wonderful masterpiece for all to enjoy."

At Yaffa Chitko created a menu that offered a wide range of flavors from the Middle East, France, North Africa, Spain and Italy.