MILWAUKEE, WI – From Wauwatosa to Mequon, from Brookfield and Greendale to downtown, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Area honored one of its own on Thursday, March 23, 2023, as the community came together to celebrate “The Bartolotta Restaurants Day” and the 30th anniversary of the city’s premier restaurant and catering organization.
“My brother Joe had this incredible gift for never seeing an obstacle. He was incapable of seeing a problem. My brother also had this gift of finding incredible locations,” said The Bartolotta Restaurants Owner and Co-Founder, Chef Paul Bartolotta, who, alongside his late brother Joe, opened the company’s first restaurant, Ristorante Bartolotta dal 1993 on March 23, 1993, in Wauwatosa. “Today is an emotional but exciting day. We have been blessed that these cities and counties have embraced us, and our purpose is to elevate the social fabric of the communities in which we live. But most importantly, it’s about our family of employees, who create ‘The Bartolotta Table’ and demonstrate their hospitality heart each and every day.”
The day of celebration began with a ceremonial cake cutting at Kohl’s corporate headquarters in Menomonee Falls, where The Bartolotta Restaurants operates “The Kitch” food hall and other dining options on the campus. A short time later, Brookfield Mayor Steven Ponto marked the anniversary with a proclamation at Mr. B’s – A Bartolotta Steakhouse.
In Downtown Milwaukee, team members at Downtown Kitchen, an urban food hall located within the U.S. Bank Center, shared a 30th anniversary cake to mark the occasion. The celebration continued a short time later at Harbor House, where Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson joined Paul Bartolotta, Maria Bartolotta, and The Bartolotta Restaurants Chief Executive Officer, Keith Trafton – serving as Master of Ceremonies – for a proclamation, cake cutting, and celebratory lunch attended by more than 125 members of The Bartolotta Restaurants family of employees.
“Today is really a moment of gratitude toward you, our family of employees, because without you this wouldn’t have happened,” Mr. Trafton told the assembled crowd. “Each and every day, what we do in our restaurants, in our catering venues, in our food halls, we deliver ‘The Bartolotta Table’ to the world. It is a bold statement, but one we wholeheartedly believe in.”
Maria Bartolotta offered gratitude for the team member’s commitment to both the company and the community. “We are so proud of all of you, the way you take care of each other because those bonds can never be broken,” Ms. Bartolotta said. “There is something so special about this business.”
“The Bartolotta business wouldn’t have gotten to this point without each and every one of you,” Mayor Johnson added. “That is a sign of a good and healthy ecosystem.”
Following the Harbor House celebration, proclamations were made declaring March 23, 2023, The Bartolotta Restaurants Day, presented by Mequon Common Council President Brian Parrish at Mr. B’s – A Bartolotta Steakhouse – Mequon; and by Village of Greendale President Jason Cyborowski at Joey Gerard’s – A Bartolotta Supper Club. The day concluded with a press conference outside Ristorante Bartolotta dal 1993 in Wauwatosa, with Wisconsin Restaurant Association President and Chief Executive Officer Kristine Hillmer giving a proclamation, VISIT Milwaukee President and Chief Executive Officer Peggy Williams-Smith, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce President Tim Sheehy, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, and Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride among those speaking and presenting proclamations to the crowd.
“The Bartolottas are Wauwatosa kids. Thank you for starting here,” said Mayor McBride. “You didn’t just bring great food [to our city], you were a catalyst for us.” Paul Bartolotta closed out the day of festivities and celebration by saying, “There is an old saying in the business ‘restaurants don’t get tired, owners do.’ And I can assure you, I am not tired. We are going forward, we are excited about the future, and we have not done our best work yet.”
Joe and Paul Bartolotta formed The Bartolotta Restaurants from memories the two shared as children, gathered around “The Bartolotta Table” with their loving family. Their dream was to recreate that experience for their guests – a place where memories could be made and shared. Joe Bartolotta passed away in 2019, leaving Paul to carry on his legacy alongside the extended family of The Bartolotta Restaurants team members. Since its inception, The Bartolotta Restaurants has expanded to 17 restaurants and catering facilities throughout the Milwaukee area. The company’s newest concept, The Commodore – A Bartolotta Restaurant, is set to open in 2023 on Nagawicka Lake.
More information about The Bartolotta Restaurants can be found at bartolottas.com.