By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Dec 04, 2020 at 10:01 AM

Following the reopenings of Ristorante BartolottaBacchus, Mr. B’s Steakhouse and Harbor House, along with the forthcoming opening of Lake Park Bistro for dine-in service, the Bartolotta Restaurants have announced the introduction of curbside pick-up at two of their restaurants

Beginning today, Dec. 4, both Mr. B’s Steakhouse and Harbor House will also offer special menus of items available to order online for curbside pick-up.

Why now?

The decision to offer curbside service follows on the heels of a thoughtful reopening plan for all Bartolotta Restaurants, which placed the safety of guests and employees at the fore.

“I’ve always believed that there is demand for curbside,” notes Chef Paul Bartolotta, owner and co-founder of The Bartolotta Restaurants. “But I also firmly believed that we need to keep our eyes on the big picture. For us, that meant having a vision for the organization that ensured we could come out of this in a strong position.

"As we’ve made our decisions to reopen, the process has been – above all – about our employees, who form the heart of our organization. It’s been about maintaining their safety, while bringing them back and offering them gainful employment to support themselves and their families.” 

“Right now, we’re looking at curbside as an add-on to our business. We’ve been able to bring back as many of our employees as possible. And now we can lay the groundwork for moving forward, give ourselves a back-up for what’s to come and serve customers who aren’t comfortable with dining inside.”

“There’s nothing like replacing the view at Harbor House or the smell of the wood-fired oven at Mr. B’s Steakhouse. But we hope we can give people a good experience at home by offering curbside items that will transport well.”

“We look at our re-emergence as the process of earning our customers back. And like everything, we’ll enter into this expecting there to be a learning curve. And we’ll be looking at the things that work, the things that people gravitate toward, and using those things as our guide.”

PHOTO: Mike Miller

Curbside offerings

Harbor House

Harbor House guests can look forward to simple appetizers like shrimp cocktail, fried calimari; and a Maryland style crab cake, along with items like clam chowder and shellfish bisque (by the cup or bowl) and  a variety of salads. 

Entrees include casual fare like the Harbor House lobster roll and burger along  with a healthy selection of entrees from skate wing with lemon, capers and brown butter; to pan-seared scallops and herb roasted Bay of Fundy salmon. There will also be filet mignon and roasted chicken breast, along with a variety of steak and seafood combinations including filet and lobster Oscar. Each will be served with a choice of sides including garlic sautéed spinach, Yukon Gold potato purée, buttered red potatoes or French green beans with prices ranging from $24-$62.

A children’s menu features items like fish and chips, buttered pasta, battered shrimp, roasted chicken, salmon and petite filet. Meanwhile, desserts include options like key lime pie and warm apple cranberry crumble. Wines will also be available by the bottle.

View the full menu and place your order online at www.harborhousemke.com.

Mr. B’s Steakhouse

Mr. B’s guests will be able to choose from appetizers like a Maryland style crab cake, shrimp cocktail, lobster mac n’ cheese or shellfish bisque along with BLT wedge or Caesar salads which can be customized to include scallops, salmon or lobster.

Entrees, priced in the $21-34 range will include Bay of Fundy salmon, seared sea scallops, South African lobster tails, a roasted half chicken or rigatoni pasta with sage cream sauce and seasonal vegetables.

And yes, there will be steaks, from classic filet to 18-ounce Angus ribeye, cooked to order with a choice of sauces and potato (puree, baked, fries or bacon roasted) for $43-$48, plus seafood upgrades and sides for an additional cost.

Desserts will include options like flourless chocolate cake, cheesecake and creme brulee.

View the full menu and place your order online at www.mrbssteakhouse.com

More to come

“We believe that – despite positive news regarding vaccines  –  it’s going to be a while before things go back to normal,” Bartolotta notes. “So, our goal will be to continue to package the Bartolotta experience in meaningful ways.” 

“I’ve been watching what people have been doing and what restaurants across the country have been doing. And we’ve challenged ourselves to come up with the best plan possible. Foods like burgers and tacos and pizza have excelled throughout this. 

“But we believe that there’s an opportunity here for the higher end market, for people who’d like to have a chef-inspired restaurant-style  experience in their homes. So, moving forward, we are hoping to introduce items like family meals, things which might require a bit of effort to finish at home, but which still provide an experience for our guests.

“The past nine months have been difficult, both physically and mentally. But what has been underscored throughout the process, and really reinvigorated us, is the fact that we love cooking. We love opening great bottles  of wine. We love – as my brother would say – putting our hearts on the plate. And we have worked hard to offer that to guests in the safest possible environment.

“Ultimately, we will need to encourage consumers to go out," adds Bartolotta, noting that carry-out will not sustain the industry for the long-term. "We will need them to go out thoughtfully, carefully. Our industry on the whole needs customers. We need this because dining is the future.”

Gift certificates for all Bartolotta Restaurants are also available for purchase. Purchase one for yourself or as a gift. Either way, it’s a great way to support your favorite restaurant.

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.