Looks like the snipes are finally out of the bag!
There’s a fun new restaurant on the docket for Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward, brought to you by the owners of DanDan. And it’s one that aims to deliver on comfort food favorites, from fried chicken and crispy potatoes to macaroni and cheese and Friday night fish fry.
Fool’s Errand is the name of the eatery, which will be located at 316 N. Milwaukee St. That’s the former home of Fauntleroy, the modern French restaurant which closed last July after struggling to remain viable during the pandemic.
Behind the restaurant, which has been months in the making, are Chefs Daniel Jacobs and Dan Van Rite and their team, including talented chef de cuisine Blair Herridge, who will head up the kitchen.
"We loved what we created with Fauntleroy," says Jacobs. "But it was alway seen as a place for special occasions. And that made it really hard. So, we really wanted to create a place that felt more acccessible."
Van Rite agrees, noting that the goal was to focus on creating a casual neighborhood spot where folks feel comfortable eating more than just every once in a while.
"When I was at Hinterland, I'd do these bar specials and we had a core of neighbors and regulars who came in religiously for those specials," says Van Rite, "And that's happened at DanDan too, where we have one guy who comes in at least once a week to get dandan noodles. So, we wanted to create a menu that appealed to people in that same way."
Guests will be able to get their first taste of the Fool’s Errand menu beginning Friday, March 19, with limited to-go orders available on Friday and Saturday evenings.
For those seeking a full dine-in experience, Fool’s Errand is slated to open for socially distanced dining beginning April 1, the perfect day to embark on a "fool’s errand."
Here's what you need to know before you go.
The name of the restaurant is a bit tongue-in-cheek; but it’s also a very deliberate nod to the challenges of opening (and running) a restaurant during a pandemic, a feat that – at times – can feel like a quest that’s likely to meet with little to no success.
It’s an errand not unlike hunting the mythological snipe, an imaginary creature which – according to stories long told by campers and Boy Scouts – can only be hunted at night, and serendipitously caught with the help of a pillowcase or burlap bag.
A whimsical rendition of the creature – created by Scott Starr of Rev Pop – will be featured in both the Fool’s Errand logo and in the restaurant’s new decor, which will feature wall coverings depicting snipes of all stripes.
What's your comfort food?
As for the menu, it’s comprised of comfort foods that chefs love to cook and eat.
"We always try to tell a story with the food that we create," say Jacobs. "And in the end, it all goes back to happy memories. Those are the kinds of dishes we wanted to feature on this menu."
That includes a healthy selection of sandwiches like a beefed up BLT with thick-cut house pork belly, lettuce, tomato, mayo and a pop of celery vinegar on Texas toast; and fried bologna dressed in cheese sauce, topped with pickled onions and served on a soft onion roll.
The menu will also feature a particularly indulgent take on the Monte Cristo (modeled after the sandwich from Benningan's, which Jacobs remembers fondly from his youth), featuring turkey, ham, Swiss, jam and “mustardainaise.”
Burgers will also have their place on the menu, with options like a patty melt with Russsian dressing, caramelized onions and Swiss on marble rye; and a house burger with pickles, onions and “truck sauce.” Sandwiches will be priced $9-$14.
There will also be salads, including kale Caesar, Greek salad, broccoli salad with tahini dressing; and a wedge salad with blue cheese dressing, bacon, pickled carrots, herbs and “everything crumble” and snacks like deviled eggs; chicken liver toast with pickled onion, peach jam, herbs and shallots; and matzo ball soup ($3-$10).
Entrees will include ribs with barbeque sauce; fried chicken; smoked gouda macaroni and cheese; and steak Diane along with crabcakes, BBQ shrimp and a fish fry ($16-$24).
Both sandwiches and entrees can be paired up with guests' choice of sides, from grandma’s potato salad and coleslaw to braised greens, charred snap peas with pea butter. There will also be waffle fries (with or without cheese sauce), hash brown fingers and hush puppies (all priced $3-$6).
"The goal is to give people choices," says Jacobs. "We wanted to create a menu that allows diners to be able to order what they want. We also wanted to make it flexible enough to allow for sharing."
"We just wanted to give our staff an oppportunity to work again," says Jacobs, "To put a smile on peoples' faces and give them craveable food that they want to eat again and again."
Get your fix
Beginning Friday, March 19th, Fool's Errand will be offering limited to-go orders on Friday and Saturday evenings. Online ordering will be available on the Fool’s Errand website beginning Sunday, March 21.
Meanwhile, the restaurant will open for full service dining on Thursday, April 1, with a full complement of safety measures in place, including dividers in the dining area, increased air circulation measures and mask-wearing.
"We've created the safest possible environment for dining at DanDan," says Jacobs, "And it's been a big success. Our employees are tested for COVID-19 every week, and we've had no positive test results since we reopened. So, we feel confident about opening the dining room with those same measures at Fool's Errand."
Beginning April 1, dinner hours will be Thursday through Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m. with weekend brunch available on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 10 a.m. Reservations for up to four guests are required and can be made via Tock. Carry-out and delivery will also be available.
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.