Bartolotta to open restaurant at McKinley Marina this summer

The Roundhouse will serve light fare, beverages


The Bartolotta Restaurants is moving forward with plans to operate a counter-service restaurant at McKinley Marina on Milwaukee’s lakefront.

“The Roundhouse” is slated to open this summer, serving light snacks as well as beer, wine and cocktails. Named for its location within the McKinley Roundhouse building, the concept will offer pick-up counter service and include a sundry store, Bartolotta said in a statement, noting that additional details are forthcoming.

A liquor license application recently filed with the city lists May 19 as the target opening date. It also notes future plans for live entertainment. Proposed operating hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

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“The main goal of this exciting community initiative is to support the city, the Milwaukee County Parks as well as the community of boaters,” the company said.

The concept has been in the works since spring of 2019 when Bartolotta announced it was in discussions with Milwaukee County to take over operations of the McKinley Roundhouse restaurant. The space previously housed Pitch’s Express, which closed in fall of 2018.

The original plan called for a full opening in spring of 2020, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the Milwaukee-based restaurant group was forced to shut down its entire 17-property footprint for months.

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Today, eight of its restaurant locations have reopened: Ristorante Bartolotta in Wauwatosa; Mr. B’s in Brookfield and Wauwatosa; Joey Gerard’s – A Bartolotta Supper Club in Greendale; and Harbor House, Lake Park Bistro, Bacchus and Downtown Kitchen at the U.S. Bank Center in Milwaukee. The group is also back in business at its downtown catering venues, Discovery World, the Grain Exchange and the Italian Community Center.

The Roundhouse’s opening season will serve as somewhat of a pilot run for its operators.

“The Bartolotta team hopes to use this season to learn what would be the best iteration of this special venue for the years to come and will continue to build upon its long partnership with Milwaukee County,” the company said.

This is not the first time Bartolotta has operated a dining concept on the lakefront, which it considers “Milwaukee’s most valuable asset.” The group operated NorthPoint Custard at Bradford Beach for 10 years before the stand became MooSa’s in 2019.

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