Dan Jacobs

About Dan Jacobs

Chef Dan Jacobs is the head chef and co-owner of acclaimed Milwaukee, WI restaurants EsterEv, a globally inspired tasting menu concept, and DanDan, a modern Chinese-American concept with Midwest sensibility. Jacobs and his business partner, Chef Dan Van Rite, are 5x James Beard Best Chef Midwest Semi-Finalists, and 2024 James Beard Best Chef Midwest Nominees, who extend their work far past the kitchen: Jacobs is an active member of the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC), was instrumental in the Restaurant Revitalization Fund’s $28.6B raise in 2021, and was one of four Americans to speak to President-Elect Biden on behalf of the independent restauranteurs. 

The same year they opened DanDan and EsterEv, Jacobs was diagnosed with Kennedy’s Disease, a genetic neuromuscular ailment commonly mistaken for ALS. With a disease that often makes simple tasks like walking upstairs or chopping an onion feel like a massive undertaking, he is proud to run two standout restaurants and raise money for Kennedy’s Disease awareness ($90,000 and counting).

At EsterEv, guests can expect dishes that evoke nostalgia and joy like Ricotta Gnudi that reminds Jacobs of his Eastern European grandma’s slow-cooked pork ragu; a Butter Popcorn Macaron that takes you to the movies; a Baked Alaska that tastes like Fruity Pebbles; and, as always, globally inspired Pierogies and Dumplings. This summer, Dan took runner-up on Season 21 of Top Chef, based in Wisconsin. 

Dan Jacobs Photo by Clay Williams

Latest Posts