DJ Post, formerly of jacs Dining & Tap House on Monroe Street, was recently named head chef at the Johnson Street restaurant The Spot.
Post joins fellow jacs alum Rebecca Mergen, who took over as general manager of the restaurant at 827 E. Johnson St., in late March.
Mergen replaced Joe Tachovsky, a longtime restaurateur who opened The Spot last August for owners Shari Galitzer and Dirk Entenmann in the former Mildred’s Sandwich Shop space.
Post came to The Spot June 6 after four years as a sous chef at jacs. Before that, he was a kitchen manager at Porta Bella.
He is adding new seasonal items to The Spot’s Mediterranean-with-a-Wisconsin-touch menu, and is expanding the restaurant's vegetarian and seafood offerings.
"I want people to be excited from the moment they hear about a dish through the last bite,” he said.
The construction of East Johnson Street has hit the whole business community on the street hard, Mergen said.
She is doing a lot more with social media to get the word out about the restaurant's new menu and happy hour, when from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. on weeknights wine by the glass and tap beer are half price, and specialty cocktails are $2 off. There are no food specials.
"We are definitely not as bad off as we thought we would be, but we're open at night and on the weekends when the construction is not here, so that seems to be helping," Mergen said.
She and Post are refreshing the menu and making it less traditional, and giving it a "more modern" slant.
The full new menu, which debuts June 23, aims to elevate great, simple ingredients with unexpected preparations, "to make people go, 'OK, this is something I've never had before,'" Mergen said.
They've already added a quinoa-lentil vegetarian burger that comes with a lemon-chardonnay aioli, arugula, sautéed mushrooms and onion.
They are also adding a pork belly sandwich with house rhubarb barbecue sauce.
As for salads, there will be a roasted beet and pickled grape salad with golden and red beets, house pickled grapes, red onion, toasted walnuts and grape-balsamic vinaigrette on arugula.
A new vegetarian offering will be spring vegetable quinoa risotto.
The "Chef’s Catch," a seafood offering that changes daily, has become popular, she added, noting that recent examples have included pan-seared mahi mahi with passion fruit glaze and citrus mashed potatoes; scallop and asparagus risotto with bacon chardonnay cream; and shrimp chipotle alfredo.
The Spot serves dinner seven nights a week and offers brunch from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. New brunch offerings will roll out in late July.