For those of you that don't know what Yelp! is, it's a website where you can write and read reviews about local businesses. Today Elite members were invited to Bartolotta Ristorante in Wauwatosa. You can't live in Milwaukee without knowing the Bartolotta name. The common misconception is the food is pricey or unapproachable. I found the opposite to be true.
We started out at the Pizzeria. A place was set up for us under the pergola where other diners can eat AL fresco. I was surprised to see the menu and learn the prices are actually quite moderate.
We got to sample many of their pieces of pizza including the Margarita and their Piccola which had sausage and veggies.. We also had beer from the New Glarus brewery. Joe Bartolotta came and spoke to us for a minute outside and then welcomed us into Ristorante' Bartolotta which is right next door to Piccola.
I was expecting a very stuffy environment but it was actually the opposite. It was very warm and inviting. I made friends with my table mates pretty quickly. We had Bellini's and wine to help with that. We started out with a Caesar salad along with figs, melon and prosciutto. I am thinking the drink was a Bellini but am not quite positive.
Yelp! is also a very unique environment because we have so much power to make or break business as Joe Bartolotta preached to us. He said it takes about a year for a business to get on it's feet and to be kind to them.
He also talked about the importance of supporting local businesses and the "bastardization" of Italian food by bigger restaurant chains such as The Olive Garden. He said they try to use as few ingredients as possible and stick to the true flavor of the region.
Entrees were duck risotto and a pasta with eggplant and mozzarella. I could eat the risotto all day! It was family style for this event but I could have just as well ate the whole thing myself. We had a few dietary restrictions at our table so we had two variations, Our risotto had duck and cheese while the other was a vegan version. Both tasted amazing!
Joe Bartolotta was so nice to speak to us about the business throughout our meal. It was really cool to hear from a business owner that is so passionate about food and is so involved in the community. As a foodie. I think I went to heaven today:)
Two things I want you to do after reading this story: go to opentable.com and make reservations for Ristaurante Bartolotta and secondly, sign up for Yelp! and start writing reviews!