Beginning this afternoon, EsterEv – the chef’s table restaurant inside dandan at 360 E. Erie St. – will switch its reservation platform from Tock to OpenTable.
The changes were made specifically with the customer in mind.
One of the issues with Tock, surmises Chef Daniel Jacobs, co-owner of dandan and EsterEv, was the fact that diners were required to pay for a portion of their dinner in advance.
Pre-payment presents a number of advantages for restaurants. It reduces no-shows by incentivizing through their monetary investment. It also allows the restaurant to adequately plan for the exact number of diners they’ll serve, offering the potential for a superior experience.
On the diner's side, there are also benefits. After all, there’s some ease in paying for a slightly more expensive dinner in two installments. And there’s the added delight of a lower (or no) bill at the end of the meal.
Unfortunately, Jacobs notes, diners seem to have been deterred by the system.
"We were getting a fair amount of abandoned transactions," he says. "And if it’s not what people want to do, then we’re making changes to accommodate that. We’ve had great success with OpenTable for dandan, so we’re moving in that direction with the hope it will work well."
Now at EsterEv
EsterEv is a unique dining experience featuring creative multi-course dinners created by Chefs Daniel Jacobs and Dan Van Rite. We visited in November and reported on the experience, which combined great food with a convivial atmosphere.
The current menu is $80 per person and features 10 courses including bay scallops with kohlrabi and apples, steak tartare with fried egg and sunchokes, endive with smoked trout and onion soubise, rabbit with potato gnocchi and ribeye with oxtail ragout. View the complete menu online.
"Ultimately, we want people to come and enjoy themselves," notes Jacobs. "EsterEv is our way of throwing really cool dinner parties for people who love food. This is our baby, and this is the project that gets our creative juices going. So, we really want this to work."
Reservations are still available for the last two weekends in January. Reservations can be made online at esterev.com or by phone by calling dandan at (414) 488-8036.
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.