Featured chef: Red Dot's Alex Johnson
The Red Dot, 2498 N. Bartlett Ave., has a new chef, Alex Johnson, who, along with longtime employee Carol Armstrong, is in the process of revamping the menu. (Don't worry, he's keeping the poutine.)
Martin and Claudia Beaudoin opened The Red Dot in 2006. Previously, the space was home to the iconic Calderone Club. Last year, the couple opened a second restaurant, Red Dot Tosa, in Wauwatosa at 6715 W. North Ave. in the former Shepherd's Bar.
Johnson, who works at the Bartlett Avenue location, grew up in Slinger and today lives on Milwaukee's East Side. Recently, we stopped in to visit Johnson and talk about the new menu, the Milwaukee dining scene in general and more.
OnMilwaukee.com: When did you start working at The Red Dot?
Alex Johnson: Around Labor Day last year. I was working at a local sandwich shop before that.
OMC: How did you learn how to cook?
AJ: I learned the basics by watching my dad cook and just kind of went from there. I got my first cooking job at Glorioso's when I was 19 and Felix (Glorioso) showed me the ropes. Felix was the first person who sparked my interest in food.
OMC: How do you plan to change the menu?
AJ: Carol and I are in the process of finalizing the new menu, which should be out and ready the week after St. Patties. It's going to be some real, local, good food with great flavor profiles. Fun food. Our brunch menu will be changing soon, too.
OMC: And the poutine?
AJ: No plans to change the poutine.
OMC: What excites you about working at The Red Dot?
AJ: Everything! But mostly the people I work with. The vibe is amazing and everyone is just great. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be there.
OMC: Do you watch any TV cooking shows? If so, which ones?
AJ: Not really. I did. I like Anthony Bourdain, but I don't really have time for TV. America's Test Kitchen is always nice.
OMC: What other kinds of cuisines do you like to make that are different from what you make at Red Dot?
AJ: The new menu is the type of cooking I do in general. Just basic, good food with flavor.
OMC: What are your general thoughts on the Milwaukee dining scene?
AJ: I think the Milwaukee dining scene has come a long way in a short time. I am happy at what is available in this town and happy to see a lot of places where the staff cares about where their food is coming from and what they are putting out.
OMC: Anything else you want to shout out to Milwaukee?
AJ: Come check out our new menu! We are keeping a few of the same and again – the poutine isn't going anywhere. We are looking forward to the new menu and the spring season and are going to offer some great weekly specials and monthly brunch specials.
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