By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Aug 13, 2020 at 12:07 PM

Two more of Milwaukee’s most popular dining destinations are set to reopen in weeks to come.

Both Harbor House, 550 N. Harbor Dr. and Mr. B’s – A Bartolotta Steakhouse, 18380 W. Capitol Dr. in Brookfield will be opening their doors to diners in the upcoming weeks, both equipped with a focus on both safety and a pleasurable guest experience.

Both reopenings build on the successful relaunch of Ristorante Bartolotta dal 1993, 7616 W. State St., which introduced a new socially-distanced dining experience on the restaurant’s Italian-inspired outdoor terrace, La Terrazza. They also follow a number of social events and weddings held at reopened catering venues including Discovery World, Peck & Bushel and the Captain’s Room at Harbor House.

"After taking several months to review our approach to everything from safety to service, we are pleased to continue a careful, yet exciting, and thoughtful reopening process," says co-founder and owner Chef Paul Bartolotta. "We are proud of our team members for committing themselves to these standards and educating themselves so that they can deliver exceptional service.

"And for our guests, we are grateful for your patience and your patronage, and for trusting us to protect your health and safety. We look forward to welcoming you again."

Harbor House

Harbor House, which will reopen on Thursday, Aug. 20, will kick off their comeback with the return of both patio and indoor seating, along with nightly live music arranged by famed Milwaukee jazz pianist Mark Davis, a graduate of the Milwaukee Conservatory of Music and founder of the Milwaukee Jazz Institute.

The restaurant has been upgraded to include an intimate, resort-like experience for guests with bespoke custom dividers between tables, live palms and flowers, redesigned flooring and a number of whimsical additions, including glowing wine buckets. Music from the Mark Davis Duo will be featured Wednesday through Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, a renewed patio will welcome guests with its beautiful lakeside views.

"We have taken the deliberate step to reopen restaurants with outdoor experiences – not just to create privacy and physical distance, but also so that our guests can enjoy our beautiful Milwaukee summers," Chef Bartolotta adds. "As we elevate these experiences, we will learn more about how to improve our processes and make our guests feel both comfortable and confident, promoting enthusiasm to dine with frequency."

A reimagined menu will whisk guests off to the shores of New England with a collaborative menu of recipes from Executive Chef John Koryckii and Chef Bartolotta that touch on dishes from Cape Cod, Nantucket, New Bedford, Martha’s Vineyard, Newport, and Boston.

Dinner offerings will include fresh new dishes like a New England lobster, shrimp and clam pot; cod cakes with remoulade, roasted oysters, Sam Adams beer battered seafood baskets, striped sea bass and Neptune’s skate wing.

Familiar favorites will include herb roasted salmon, North Atlantic cod and South African lobster tails, along with 8 oz. filet served with guests’ choice of salmon, crab cake, shrimp, sea scallops or lobster.

Meanwhile lunch service will showcase dishes like the popular Maine lobster roll, summer vegetable fettuccine, a crab cake sandwich, fish tacos and lobster, burrata and asparagus.

Harbor House will be open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m.; lunch service on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Sunday brunch (featuring an a la carte menu) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made online at bartolottas.com.

Mr. B’s Steakhouse

Meanwhile, Mr. B’s will return to operations on Wednesday, Sept. 2, offering a signature menu of guest favorites from Executive Chef Amanda Langler.

A newly redecorated patio will showcase an external fireplace, new linens and beautiful greenery; meanwhile the indoor dining room will promote safety with custom-built dividers that complement the interior decor.

"The wood-fired oven is fired up and ready to welcome back our guests with unforgettable steaks and filet mignon; and let us not forget that the bottles on our massive red wine list are just waiting to be popped," says Chef Bartolotta. "Indoors and outdoors, guests will feel a sense of familiarity consistent with that of a high-end steakhouse, while acknowledging the upgrades we have made in the name of safety and public health."

Mr. B’s – A Bartolotta Steakhouse will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m. Guests with reservations after 8:30 p.m. will be treated to wine available at half-off. Reservations are required and can be made online at bartolottas.com.

Safety protocols

Both restaurants have been reimagined with the safety of employees and guests as a top priority. Protocols which have been put in place include:

  • Face masks are required to be worn by staff members at all times
  • Face coverings are required for all guests, two years of age and older, during the following instances:
      • When walking in at any of the restaurants
      • When ordering or addressing a Bartolotta employee
      • When walking in common areas
  • Reservations are required (reservations will be held for 15 minutes and will be limited to 1.5 hours)
  • Temperature checks for guests will be taken upon entry
  • Touchless payment options and QR codes will enable guests to view menus on their smartphones
  • Rearranged dining rooms offer distance and privacy between tables; as well as custom-made safety partitions where applicable
  • UV-C technology has been put in place that destroys microorganisms in the air and on hard surfaces
  • Tables are meticulously and deliberately cleaned before every new reservation

Guests can review the full Covid-19 Response Plan, see dining menus, and make reservations online at bartolottas.com.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.