In Milwaukee, Restaurants and Venues Worry of Seeing Limited R.N.C. Boost

Dan Jacobs, a contestant on the newest season of “Top Chef,” is having a national star turn with his soups, cheese treats and elevated snacks — and his open struggle with a rare degenerative disease.

But that publicity has not translated to a surge of prospective customers booking soirees at his Milwaukee restaurants, DanDan and EsterEv, ahead of the Republican National Convention, which is just three months away.

“We haven’t gotten one single inquiry, like nothing,” said the restaurateur. “That’s where I think everybody’s like, ‘What’s going on?’”

With the Republican convention slated to kick off in Milwaukee on July 15, some of the city’s biggest and most sought-after restaurants, concert halls and other venues are alarmed at how slowly the expected events around the gathering are taking shape.

Birch, whose chef, Kyle Knall, has twice been nominated for a James Beard Award for the best chef in the Midwest, has no signed contracts, and indeed has received only one inquiry, restaurant management said. The gracious, old-world Pabst and Riverside theaters also remain unbooked, according to entertainment industry officials. Leslie West, who co-owns and runs the Rave, Eagles Club and Eagles Ballroom, said she had given up and would “just book our own shows during the R.N.C. time period, no need to stress about it.”

“We’re seeing what everyone else is seeing,”said Adam Siegel, whose restaurant, Lupi & Iris, is finalizing contracts on two 100-plate brunches but has not seen the complete restaurant buyouts he was expecting. “There’s no sense of security that it will move forward in the way that most conventions move forward.”

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