Behind the scenes with Bartolotta (exclusive video)
He owns some of the hottest restaurants in Wisconsin. Every day, thousands of diners celebrate special occasions at his establishments. Joe Bartolotta runs a company which consists of 11 businesses and 700 employees, operating in a fiercely competitive marketplace and enjoying success despite a sluggish economy.
But achieving that success doesn't happen by accident.
Bartolotta engages in detailed planning with his managers in looking at the big picture. He is always looking for new opportunities, but has to be careful that any new restaurant he might open won't draw business away from his existing eateries.
In this OnMilwaukee.com exclusive, we show you the many facets of what's involved in running the Bartolotta empire.
We followed Joe through part of a busy schedule, including a meeting with the executive chefs and general managers, and an audition with an admittedly nervous chef who cooked lunch for Joe to apply for a chef's opening.
We also watched Joe don an apron, take out his knives and cook for a local family who won Joe's services in a charity auction. He finished his day taste-testing some new desserts at his newest restaurant, Harbor House, where he also interacted with several customers at their tables.
I helped open Lake Park Bistro as a cook years ago. I saw Joe's aspirations and still see some of the same people working for him, that's a testament to him and his company. If I would have towed the company line, I probably could still be working with them. At the time I wanted more as a budding chef. Everyone in the northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin area want to be like Lettuce Entertain You, Inc. from Chicago. I see it with Food Fight resto group in Madison too. He will do more and good for him. Bring one of your places to Madison, come on man let's see it. Francesca's is here now, you can do better than them, right?
I Love Bartolotta's restaurants! I had my wedding reception @ Bacchus and had one of the best meals I've ever had there. Every year for our anniversary my wife and I go back and after two years have never been disappointed. We plan on going there for every anniversary diner for the next 50 years! And if your looking for the best steak in Milwaukee Mr. B;s is the place to go. It will make Outback taste like dog food!
Wow(sigh) another article about Bartolotta. I appreciate everything he has done for Milwaukee, but there are so many small businesses that could use this kind of free advertising. Especially with the economy, so many are going out of business. Yes, I know some for good reason. But some only can afford to do so much right now. A boost in advertising can do a lot for a business. Please go out and try something new-that probably has been there for awhile, and just doesn't get noticed.
No offense, this piece is kinda like an infomercial. Interview a former employee, they can explain the definition of a people person. I dont understand fine dining New England seafood on the Lake Michigan in a recession? And are they out to hurt other business? oh well I guess, every man for themselves. Chef driven restaurants? I didn't catch any of the other chef's names other than Joe - and he isn't a chef or is he? They have succesful formulas much like a chain restaurant, as you heard in the chef's interview "we have our way of plating things" chefs are allowed to express the own style, if they are chefs or are they kitchen managers? McDonald's is showing great numbers too and continously has lines wrapped around the building. Head to Chicago if you want to experience selfless restaurantuers that do it for the passion, not self glorification.
I strongly disagree. They serve small portions for a very extravagant price. I had a ceaser salad at one of his restaraunts. The dressing tasted like soap water.I'm not the only one who feels that way
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