By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published May 06, 2021 at 12:30 PM

Another East Side restaurant is reopening its doors for indoor and patio dining.

The Original,  2498 N. Bartlett Ave., which closed for six months at the start of the pandemic and gradually reopened for private dining and limited carry-out, reopened to the public yesterday for the first time in just over a year.

“We are taking our reopening very slowly and working with a limited staff,” says co-owner Eric Rzepka. “There will be hiccups to start, but we are taking our time to make sure that we can give guests the safest and most enjoyable experience possible.”

The restaurant is placing a priority on patio dining, with six tables and two booths available for guests. On days when temperatures fall below 60 degrees, Rzepka says they will accommodate diners with socially distanced dining in their dining room.

That means guests can once again enjoy The Original’s craft cocktail program, along with a slightly abbreviated menu of spring menu staples – including a seasonal take on their popular seared scallops, mushroom ragu with polenta and grilled New York Striip –  plus a few new items, including a Korean fried chicken wing starter and lamb kofte.

The full menu will also be available for carry-out. View the full menu here.

“We genuinely appreciate all the support we’ve received from customers who’ve supported us through carry-out and private dining,” notes Rzepka, who says that support, along with verbal encouragement has assisted them in meeting the challenges of the pandemic head on.

As the restaurant reopens, he says, safety remains at the fore.

“Our staff is fully vaccinated, and our staff will be wearing masks through the end of the year. Our goal is to operate as safely as possible while still offering our guests the experience that they’ve come to expect.”

While brunch service is on hold for now, Rzepka says they hope to roll out Sunday brunch by  mid-summer if customer volume warrants it.

The Original is currently open Wednesday through Saturday for dinner service from 5 to 9 p.m.

Reservations are recommended, particularly on weekends. To reserve a table (or check on availability) give the restaurant a call at (414) 763-4811 or reach out on social media.

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.