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L’Etoile’s former top chef opening restaurant on Monroe Street

L’Etoile’s former top chef opening restaurant on Monroe Street

Itaru Nagano 5

Itaru Nagano started as a sous chef at L'Etoile in 2012, and in 2014 became its chef de cuisine. He left in September to open his own place.

Itaru Nagano, the former chef de cuisine at L’Etoile, is putting his new restaurant on Monroe Street where Jacs Dining and Tap House used to be.

He's calling it Fairchild. "It’s the last name of the first mayor of Madison and our first restaurant,” Nagano said.

The concept will be a “casual, chef-driven restaurant, with classic flavors and a focus on execution and utilizing local produce, of course,” he said.

Nagano said the opening menu could include cassoulet, roasted chicken, short ribs, fish and pasta for main dishes. Other menu items he’s working on involve beets, croquettes and pates.

His business partners, Andrew Kroeger and Patrick Sierra, are both L’Etoile alums.

Nagano, 42, said he and Kroeger used to be sous chefs together, and Sierra was once a sommelier and server at the fine-dining Capitol Square restaurant. Sierra has been in the real estate business for the last few years.

The men will need to make some renovations to the space at 2611 Monroe St., but not many, Nagano said.

He said they are hoping to open by March 1.

Nagaro said the three have been wanting to open a place in the Dudgeon-Monroe neighborhood for a long time. “The timing just worked out for us. We love that neighborhood.”

When Nagano was profiled in August in the Wisconsin State Journal, L’Etoile owner and executive chef Tory Miller predicted Nagano’s project would be the “next best restaurant” in town.

Nagano left L’Etoile last month after 6 1/2 years.

“It’s a huge hole to fill, but it’s definitely his time,” Miller said then. “Unfortunately, when you find the best, you always know they will eventually move on to do their own thing."

In the August article, Nagano said it would take him time to figure out a location, concept and name for his new project. He said his goal was to open a restaurant within two years.

"It happened really quick," he said Monday. "I'm even surprised."

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