East Side restaurant at former Red Dot location opens today

The Original will be the fourth establishment to occupy 1895 building

Courtesy of Eric Rzepka

The Original, a new restaurant at the former Red Dot location on Milwaukee’s East Side, opens today at 4 p.m. for full-service dining. The restaurant will serve dinner daily from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., cocktails from 10 p.m. to midnight and weekend brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Owners Eric and Craig Rzepka bought the space, located at 2498 N. Bartlett Ave., in late spring after the Red Dot closed its doors in July 2016. Martin Beaudoin, owner of the Red Dot operates the now-only location in Wauwatosa.

The brothers spent three months renovating the space that can hold 99 people inside and 61 people on its outdoor patio.

“We are really looking forward to being a good neighborhood place,” Eric Rzepka said.

The upscale casual-style restaurant offers “new American-style” dishes including shrimp and grits, pan seared scallops and pork tenderloin. Each dish is paired with a craft cocktail made with locally sourced spirits.

Rzepka said just about “everything”– except for the original art deco bar– looks different from the previous establishment. They removed the art and paint from the back wall to expose its original wood panels and installed a copper ceiling and new light fixtures.

“I feel like we are totally ready to open today and we are excited to be in business,” Rzepka said. The restaurant held a soft opening and two successful mock services earlier this week.

The Original is the fourth restaurant to inhabit its 1895 space. It was the High Corner Bar in the 1940s and later, Al Calderone Club until Beaudoin bought it in 2005 to open the Red Dot. The name, The Original, recognizes the Red Dot’s first ever location.

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe has covered retail, restaurants, entertainment and tourism since 2018. Her duties as associate editor include copy editing, page proofing and managing work flow. Meyer earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University and still enjoys attending men’s basketball games to cheer on the Golden Eagles. Also in her free time, Meyer coaches high school field hockey and loves trying out new restaurants in Milwaukee.

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