Sophie Bolich

Bartolotta Aims to Revitalize Historic Site

The Commodore, a restaurant and catering venue on Nagawicka Lake in Hartland, is planned to open next summer.

By - Aug 18th, 2022 11:46 am
The Commodore – A Bartolotta Restaurant. Photo courtesy of The Bartolotta Restaurants.

The Commodore – A Bartolotta Restaurant. Photo courtesy of The Bartolotta Restaurants.

The Bartolotta Restaurants, a Milwaukee hospitality group, is set to expand its portfolio with a new restaurant and catering venue, The Commodore, at 1807 Nagawicka Rd. in Hartland.

Developed in partnership with David Herro and Jay Franke of HF Hospitality Group, The Commodore would open in the former Seven Seas Seafood & Steak Restaurant, said a press release from the group.

The venture is a strategic move to revitalize a historic property, located on Nagawicka Lake. Opened in 1905, the building was originally Hasslinger’s Pleasant View Hotel & Resort, but has served mainly as a restaurant and event space for nearly 40 years.

“This 117-year-old building is a living time capsule of Nagawicka Lake and the Lake Country community surrounding it, and The Commodore – A Bartolotta Restaurant will serve as the bridge between the past we preserve and the future memories we will make,” said Paul Bartolotta, owner and co-founder (along with his late brother Joe Bartolotta) of The Bartolotta Restaurants. “Together with our partners, David and Jay, we will bring new life to this building and create a dining experience that is truly unique to Lake Country and the Greater Milwaukee area.”

The venue, set to open next summer, in 2023, overlooks Nagawicka Lake, offering a view of the water and sunsets. The lake is a fishing destination and is mostly surrounded by residential homes.

The building itself is multi-level. A main-level dining room will have decor “inspired by the yacht clubs of the 1920s, while embracing modern Lake Country and its inviting, comfortable, and celebratory atmosphere,” a press release notes. Nagawicka Lake Yacht Club is located on the shoreline opposite The Commodore. The Commodore’s upper level will function as an event space to host large groups and gatherings.

“We are thrilled to partner with Bartolotta, given their reputation for innovative and high-quality dining experiences. It’s our plan to passionately rejuvenate this property, reflecting its legacy and importance in the community,” said a statement from Herro and Franke.

The Commodore joins a growing list of Bartolotta catering venues including Discovery World, Italian Community Center, The Grain Exchange and others.

Renovations are in progress at the site of the future venue. The Commodore will be the first Bartolotta-owned location in Waukesha County since Mr. B’s Steakhouse opened in Brookfield in 1999.

According to the press release, the property that will become The Commodore has changed hands more than 15 times in the past century, serving as, among other things, a hotel, a discotheque, a girl’s camp and a school.

The most recent occupants, Seven Seas Seafood & Steak Restaurant, closed in December, 2020 due to the pandemic. The space had an earlier proposal to reopen as a restaurant under the ownership of Saz’s Hospitality Group, but that never came to fruition. Around the same time, the Seven Seas building in Delafield sold to new owners for $4.5 million.

The Commodore isn’t Herro and Franke’s first project. In 2021, the two partnered to redevelop a building at 5th Street and National Avenue, opening The George and Madcap Lounge event venues.

The Bartolotta group recently opened another lakeside establishment. Roundhouse at McKinley Marina, a concession stand on the shoreline of Lake Michigan, began operating in July. Like The Commodore, the Roundhouse also emerged from a move to preserve and revitalize a historic site.

If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us