By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published May 13, 2013 at 9:03 PM Photography: David Bernacchi

Justin Carlisle, executive chef at Umami Moto, will leave his post next month to open a new restaurant called The Jefferson House.

Located in the Jefferson Building at 525 E. Menomonee St., in the former home of Chili Lili’s and The Holiday House, the restaurant will be a collaboration between Carlisle and former Umami Moto manager Dan Frame.

Carlisle, a multiple-time James Beard Award semi-finalist whose resume includes work at Chicago restaurants like Tru and The Bristol, says that the restaurant will really be "two in one," and will offer diners the choice of a casual side and a fine dining side.

He says he welcomes the opportunity to create a "casual neighborhood joint" where he can bring back dishes from his childhood. The Jefferson House will embody that feel, with modern rustic décor and offering a menu of 15-20 items priced between $5 and $22.

The food will have a regional vibe, offering a range of vegetarian options as well as beef from his family's farm in Sparta. Simple will be the name of the game, according to Carlisle, who says he plans to feature entrées like roasted chicken with braised green beans.

Meanwhile, a private dining area adjacent to the main dining room will offer Carlisle the opportunity to showcase limitless creativity and a deeply personal side with a tasting-menu-only concept. Ardent, as this second concept will be called, will offer one seating per evening to 25-30 guests on Fridays and Saturdays only.

"It will be very fine dining," Carlisle said, "And an opportunity to interact with customers and give them a unique experience."

Carlisle will work with a variety of local vendors on the restaurant space and branding, including Neille Hoffmann and Kenneth Kornacki of Aurum Design who he has worked with on a series of Periodic Table dinners in their Sensorium Gallery on Water Street. The design for the restaurant will be orchestrated by Libby and Patrick Castro of LP/w Design Studios.

According to Carlisle, construction will begin on the restaurant in the next week or so and his last day at Umami Moto is expected to be June 22. The Jefferson House is expected to open in late summer.

Watch and The Weekly Nibble for additional details as more information about the restaurant is made available.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

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.