By Amy L. Schubert Food Writer Published Jun 02, 2008 at 5:35 AM Photography: Damien Legault

The Supple Restaurant Group opened its fifth Fratellos Waterfront Restaurant, and first southeast location, earlier this spring at 102 N. Water St., in Milwaukee's Third Ward.

The restaurant, founded in Oshkosh, bears little similarity to its original location, save a lovely waterfront view and the menu, which carries basic foods similar to what one would find at a bumped up Applebee's or Chancery.

The interior at the Milwaukee Fratellos is sleek and inviting, and the space features an extensive riverfront patio nearly as big as the inside, for outdoor dining and cocktailing.

Fratellos' menu relies on staples such as pizzas, sandwiches and salads, and also features pasta and Fratellos' "Signatures" dishes. Unlike the Oshkosh location, which focuses on handcrafted beers, the Milwaukee location mimics Green Bay and Appleton restaurants in outwardly focusing on wine. All seating is pre-set with wine glasses, and the wine list is better than what one would typically find in this caliber of restaurant.

Fratellos' "world famous" white chicken chili (cup $2.99, bowl $5.99) may not be world famous, but it is a thick, rich rendition with tender chicken and a dollop of sour cream intermixed. An Italian onion soup of the day (cup $2.75, bowl $4.99), was not very flavorful, but included fresh herbs and a crusty herbed crouton.

A panache appetizer ($10.49) heaped waffle fries with a few chicken tenders, onion rings and a pair of won ton-wrapped cheese sticks. All items were standard pre-made fare, but were well-drained of fry grease, which made them good, and I imagine even better if served with a cold beer on the patio.

A stone-fired Milano pizza ($9.99) is a moderately priced lunch option with red sauce and Italian sausage, caramelized onions and mushrooms enhanced with the flavors of fresh basil and mozzarella. A carved turkey sandwich ($9.49) surprisingly featured deli-style sliced turkey rather than freshly carved turkey, but the sandwich was okay overall with seven-grain bread and a serving of raspberry mayo that was sweet like a yogurt. Sandwiches come with waffle fries, cole slaw, Asian noodle salad or a seasonal healthy offering, which on one visit was apple slices with yogurt.

Bruschetta chicken ($15.99) and chicken marsala ($15.99) both offered tender, juicy chicken, but the bruschetta chicken, a signature dish, was the better of the two, since the marsala was somewhat soupy. The bruschetta chicken placed a seared chicken breast over pesto risotto and topped with Roma tomatoes, basil, olive oil and mozzarella.

Fratellos' interior is potentially misleading, since its sleek lines seem to intimate a more upscale restaurant, while the menu is decidedly more casual and simple. The result is a Downtown restaurant with casual, affordable dining, again, similar to an Applebee's or a Chancery.

Once you understand that, Fratellos can afford the opportunity to serve this type of cuisine in a very pleasant environment. Servers here are still working out a few new-opening kinks, too, but overall, Fratellos is an interesting addition to the Third Ward dining scene.

Amy L. Schubert is a 15-year veteran of the hospitality industry and has worked in every aspect of bar and restaurant operations. A graduate of Marquette University (B.A.-Writing Intensive English, 1997) and UW-Milwaukee (M.A.-Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Writing, 2001), Amy still occasionally moonlights as a guest bartender and she mixes a mean martini.

The restaurant business seems to be in Amy’s blood, and she prides herself in researching and experimenting with culinary combinations and cooking techniques in her own kitchen as well as in friends’ restaurants. Both she and her husband, Scott, are avid cooks and “wine heads,” and love to entertain friends, family and neighbors as frequently as possible.

Amy and Scott live with their boys, Alex and Nick, in Bay View, where they are all very active in the community. Amy finds great pleasure in sharing her knowledge and passions for food and writing in her contributions to