By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Jul 18, 2018 at 5:01 PM

It’s almost time for Festa Italiana, which takes place July 20-22 at Henry Maier Festival Park. And this year, there is a bounty of new dishes to enjoy from nearly 20 vendors, both new and old.

In addition to festival favorites like arancini, limoncello margaritas, sfingi and cannoli, fest-goers will find new items, including Festa’s official sausage, Sendik’s Festa Italiana. This Italian sausage is served on a seeded roll from Peter Sciortino Bakery with your choice of marinara or green peppers.

One of Milwaukee’s newest Italian restaurants, Dorsia, will be serving antipasti, including bruschetta and garlic cheese bread, along with a variety of panini, including meatball, chicken pesto, chicken parmesan and insalata caprese.

Meanwhile, Oak Creek’s Vivere will be featuring a variety of seafood options including calamari and crab cakes, along with chicken Portofino, chicken cacciatore and baked lasagna.

Roman-style pizza – called pinsa – will also be a feature. Trattoria Di Carlo will be showcasing this new street food-style pizza, which is made with a unique flour blend that results in a light, airy crust with fewer calories than a traditional pizza crust. Toppings will include margherita, roasted eggplant and Italian sausage. There will also be chocolate pinsa topped with warm caramel and apples.

A variety of polenta dishes (including fried polenta with mushroom ragu or marinara)  at The Bartolotta Restaurants at the Italian Community Centerwho will also showcase fresh new favorites like proscuitto and melon, caprese salad, mussels marinara, cheese tortelloni and a porchetta sandwich.

Items like deep fried gnocchi and spaghetti and meatball mozzarella sticks will be on the menu at Albanese’s Road House, which will also feature both meatball and Italian sausage sandwiches.

"Food is such an integral part of Italian culture, and we are really making an effort this year to offer more choices and more selections for Festa-goers to enjoy throughout the grounds," notes Dean Cannestra, Italian Community Center president and chairman of Festa Italiana. "Everyone at Festa Italiana is sure to find something unique and exciting for their taste buds this year!"

For a full list of Festa foods and vendors, visit

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.