According to the Small Business Times, Chef Michael Symon, owner of Lola and Lolita restaurants in Cleveland and Roast in Detroit is opening up a restaurant in Milwaukee. Symon may be better known for being a Food Network personality appearing on The Next Iron Chef, Iron Chef America, and Dinner:Impossible. He was also prominently featured in Michael Ruhlman’s awesome book “The Soul of a Chef, which is how I first heard about him.
People like to slam Celebrity Chef driven restaurants. I kind of like to support the local guys too but I will admit that I have had some great meals at Celebrity Chef restaurants. Meals at Emeril’s Nola, Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, and Charlie Palmer’s Aureole have been spectacular. I had the best steak I have ever tasted at Aureole and the best duck I have ever tasted at Nola. Even Todd English’s ill-fated English Is Italian in Manhattan was great. Though he hasn’t worked there in years, Les Halles which has thrived because of Anthony Bourdain’s popularity, was also very good on the two occasions I ate there.
Really if I had to pick a celebrity chef to open a restaurant in Wisconsin, Symon would be near the top of the list. He is a Midwesterner and his food seems like it would kind of relate to Milwaukee palates while still offering something never really seen here. Plus Symon has been a big supporter of Wisconsin cheese even appearing in print ads for the Wisconsin Dairy Producers. I think its a great fit and I excited about this venture.