Sophie Bolich

The Bartolotta Restaurants Celebrates 30 years

Restaurant group to mark milestone anniversary with special menu, yearlong celebration.

By - Mar 10th, 2023 12:06 pm
Paul and Joe Bartolotta. Photo courtesy of The Bartolotta Restaurants.

Paul and Joe Bartolotta. Photo courtesy of The Bartolotta Restaurants.

For nearly three decades, The Bartolotta Restaurants have been the backdrop for countless milestone moments; patrons have cheered on proposals, enjoyed birthday dinners, toasted new graduates and celebrated baby showers, among other occasions.

On the 30th anniversary of its founding, the restaurant and catering brand will turn the tables on its guests, kicking off a yearlong celebration — featuring special menus and events — in honor of its own “three decades of growth and success.”

“Thinking about how far we have come in 30 years, the restaurants that we’ve opened, the incredible talent that we’ve nurtured and made part of our family, I’m both incredibly proud and humbled,” Paul Bartolotta, co-founder and owner of The Bartolotta Restaurants, said in a statement.

Bartolotta and his late brother, Joe, opened their first restaurant on March 23, 1993 in Wauwatosa, near their childhood home. They called it Ristorante Bartolotta, as an homage to their Italian heritage.

Starting March 24, Ristorante Bartolotta, 7616 W. State St., in Wauwatosa, will launch a special menu, Un Viaggio Nel Pasato “I Classici del Ristorante,” reviving some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes from years past. The menu will include pappardelle al sugo d’anitra, ravioli di ricotta e spinaci al burro e salvia, branzino all’acqua pazza and tiramisu.

Since the debut of the first Bartolotta restaurant, the brand has added nine additional establishments to its portfolio, launched a catering company and created an on-campus dining experience at Kohl’s corporate campus. Today, the group operates Lake Park Bistro, Harbor House, Bacchus and several others in the Milwaukee Area.

“When we opened Ristorante Bartolotta, our goals were simple. We wanted to bring good food to Milwaukee, and treat people with genuine hospitality, as if they were joining us in our home,” Paul Bartolotta said. “These goals remain the same, and Milwaukee has, in turn, repaid us with loyal support, trust, and love for three decades. We owe any success we have to the people of this great city, and to those who travel here to experience everything we have to offer.”

In turn, the group formed Care-a-lotta, a giving program to reinvest in the community. Established in 2009, the program has supported hundreds of local organizations through donations, volunteering, special events and galas.

Joe and Paul Bartolotta have been the recipients of numerous awards over the years. For three consecutive years, the brothers were selected as James Beard semi-finalists for Outstanding Restaurateur. In 2020, Paul Bartolotta was nominated as a finalist in the same category. He is also a two-time James Beard award winner for Best Chefs in America.

The restaurants themselves have received accolades including Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence (Ristorante Bartolotta, Harbor House, and Mr. B’s – A Bartolotta Steakhouse – in Brookfield and Mequon), Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence (Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro and Bacchus – A Bartolotta Restaurant) and Distinguished Restaurants of North America honors (Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro).

Following Joe Bartolotta’s passing in 2019, Paul Bartolotta became the sole proprietor of The Bartolotta Restaurants. After navigating the company through the pandemic, he continues to expand the business with new venues, including The Commodore – A Bartolotta Restaurant opening in 2023.

To reserve a table at Ristorante Bartolotta dal 1993, or another Bartolotta restaurant, visit the company’s website.


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