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Milwaukee’s decorated Ardent restaurant reimagines itself

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Local design-and-build firm Three Sixty helped Ardent transform its lounge area earlier this year.
Matthew Mitschke
Three Sixty / Instagram
Local design-and-build firm Three Sixty helped Ardent transform its lounge area earlier this year.

Each week on This Bites, dining critic Ann Christenson from Milwaukee Magazine and Radio Milwaukee’s resident foodie Tarik Moody dig into the city’s culinary and restaurant culture to help you find new spots, old favorites and the best ingestibles around Milwaukee.

Improvement is a never-ending journey. Ann and I are big believers in that, which is why this podcast just keeps getting better, week after week. It turns out one of the crown jewels of Milwaukee’s restaurant scene subscribes to the philosophy as well. That’s where we start this week’s episode.

Ardent on the city’s East Side has racked up seven James Beard nominations — becoming a finalist five times — and continually lands on lists of the top restaurants in North America. Even with all those plaudits, chef and owner Justin Carlisle decided the “steady as she goes” approach wasn’t for him. So, as the eatery celebrates its 10th anniversary, it will also drastically change how it serves its customers.

Using the space next door that was the home of Carlisle’s Red Light Ramen venture, Ardent will relocate its tasting room, creating a simple and elegant setup with four tables at which diners will enjoy the renowned prix fixe menu. The tasting room’s previous digs will then become a more casual lounge geared toward walk-ins and outfitted with a menu to match.

You’ll hear us talk about that menu in the episode, along with a few other items from around Milwaukee’s culinary landscape:

Thanks for joining us on this food journey of ours. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you listen, and leave a rating or review so we know what you think of us.

Director of Digital | Radio Milwaukee