By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer Published Oct 14, 2020 at 11:01 AM

For nearly 40 years, The Pasta Tree has been an East Side staple, well known for its handmade pastas, bread, sausage and mozzarella.

For the past few months, the restaurant has subsisted on carry-out, along with sales of bread, pasta and sauces through Milwaukee Farmers United, a farmer and artisan food aggregate which offers home delivery of fresh produce and local food products.

But, beginning Thursday, Oct. 15, the restaurant will re-open for indoor dining following approval of their COVID-19 plan with the City of Milwaukee. The restaurant, which has implemented numerous safety protocols including nightly UV light sanitation and the installation of UV light purification for their HVAC system. 

A deck has also been installed behind the restaurant, which chef and owner Suzzette Metcalfe says will be used to accommodate guests as weather permits (with hopeful additions of patio heaters or other all-weather accomodations).

The dining rooms have also been spruced to include new modern touches, including a fresh coat of antique blue paint, art work and modified lighting with design implemented by new general manager Orry León. 

“I’m so excited to work with Orry [León],” says Metcalfe, who says it’s the first time she’s hired someone to take on the role of general manager since purchasing the restaurant in 2008. “It feels really good to have someone to take care of the front-of-house so that I can focus my energy in the kitchen.”

New offerings

As a result, Metcalfe says guests can look forward to a number of new additions to The Pasta Tree menu, including additional seafood items. For the first time, the restaurant will also introduce Sunday brunch, which will be served weekly from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Among brunch options, guests will find shareables like zeppoles (Italian sugared donuts) with caramel and chocolate dipping sauces ($12); fresh fruit tarts ($10) and antipasto plates ($11/$18), along with savory dishes including Italian-style baked eggs with spinach, tomato sauce and parmesan cream ($14); pasta carbonara ($16); quinoa with spinach, poached eggs and roasted red pepper cream ($15) and parmesan biscuits with rosemary shiitake sausage gravy ($12; add an egg for +$2).

Classic brunch drinks like Italian bloody marys ($12); screwdrivers ($12); plum rosemary sangria ($12) and mimosas ($8 or $25 for bottomless with purchase of a brunch entree)  will also be available.

Beginning Thursday, Oct. 15, The Pasta Tree will be open Wednesday through Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (for brunch) and 5 to 9 p.m. (for dinner). Reservations can be made at pastatreemilwaukee.com. Carry-out and delivery will continue to be available.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer

Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.

Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon. 

Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.