News (USA)

Chef changes his restaurant’s name to honor his son’s transition

Dave Heide with son Ollie
Dave Heide with son OlliePhoto: Dave Heide/Facebook

Award-winning restauranteur Chef Dave Heide has closed his popular and long-running New Orleans-style restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin and renamed the new establishment in honor of his recently transitioned son. Ollie’s Madison opened in November.

In September, Heide posted to Facebook: “Tonight is the last three course menu we will ever have at Liliana’s Restaurant.”

“It has been so wonderful to share with you everything creative my kitchen can give you over the years, and we look forward to sharing our next adventure Ollie’s Madison and Saint Charles Station with you!”

Together with Saint Charles Station and Heide’s non-profit caterer Little John’s, all of Heide’s establishment’s now bear his kids’ names.

The chef says COVID changed the restaurant business and inspired the reboot, but the primary reason to rebuild was his son Ollie.

“My kiddo doesn’t go by the name that’s on the restaurant anymore,” Heide told the Wisconsin State Journal. “They don’t use that name. They go by a different name. As a dad who loves their kid, to have their deadname on my shirt every day when I come home and their deadname on their restaurant … that’s part of it.”

The former restaurant opened on Ollie’s first birthday. Heide announced his son’s transition in a Facebook post in December 2020.

“I wanted everyone to meet someone you already know. I introduce you to Ollie Joy Heide. You may have known them as Liliana in the past, but now you may call them Ollie.”

“I am so proud of this human. I have known them as Lily for their whole life, and I look forward to many adventures with this amazing human and having a million new memories with them.”

“I love you Ollie, no matter your name, your gender, or your pronouns. You will always be my kiddo that I am proud of and love.”

In September, Heide opened a pay-what-you-can restaurant partnership with the Madison Children’s Museum bearing the Little John’s name. A self-service cafe in front of the museum offers nutritious, kid-friendly meals made from scratch.

While Heide has been serious in support of son Ollie, he hasn’t been above the occasional dad joke. “So excited to be coming out to see you soon!” Heide posted to Facebook about Ollie’s Madison. “Stay connected here to watch us transition!!!!”

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