Bartolotta deal with SSP boosts airport dining
The restaurant opens for breakfast at 7 a.m. serving a range of frittatas and breakfast pizzas, including a smoked salmon pizza. It closes ½ hour after the last flight.
Wise says business has been growing and that as travelers realize that their boarding pass allows them access to all concourses - not only the one they're flying in or out of - business will improve even more. But the restaurant also needs to overcome changes at the airlines; changes which are beyond the control of SSP and Bartolotta.
"When the initial deal was cut over a year ago this was the busiest terminal in the airport," says Wise. "It's not anymore. It seems that whenever Midwest closes down a flight Air Train adds 10. Right now the C terminal is the hot terminal. But it's still a slow time of year. Summer is the busy travel season. We've seen our business go up. We wish maybe we were in C, we wish maybe all the terminals were connected. ... It'll take time. People will talk and realize (we're here), eventually."
Although the restaurant is owned by SSP, Wise says Bartolotta takes the deal seriously. Not only because it could lead to further partnerships with SSP, but because owner Joe Bartolotta guards his family name carefully.
"There's not much that Joe cares about more than his reputation," says Wise. "This was not a slam-dunk decision. (Like) 'It's not very hard, let's sit back and make money.' It was never that. Joe has always cared more about his reputation than how much money he had in the bank.
"But I think that we'd love to see this relationship grow. The initial deal was for two restaurants here. There's talk that maybe there will even be more here. There's talk we may even be involved in some airports of this one."
And, according to Wise, there is reason to believe that talk.
"We've been dealing with SSP vice presidents and they feel that this is one of the top restaurants they have anywhere. They're very excited about this restaurant, this execution, and we've been good partners with them. It's been a good relationship so far."
Says SSP America's Senior Vice President of Business Development Pat Murray: "With their intense passion and commitment to success, The Bartolotta Restaurant Group has achieved the pinnacle of success in Milwaukee, and has led to the fantastic creation of Nonna Bartolotta's at General Mitchell International Airport.
"The travel industry continues to evolve with consumers demanding an authentic dining experience, which combines 'real food' and hospitality in airports. SSP's partnership with The Bartolotta Restaurant Group helps us deliver both, plus adds exciting new dimensions to our skills and knowledge of Italian and local foods."
In the meantime, Bartolotta is focusing on opening a pair of burger places this year. In addition to Lotta Burgers at the airport, the company is preparing to open North Point Burgers and Custard in the old North Point Snack Bar just south of Bradford Beach.
"We're gonna end up opening three places (this year)," says Wise. "And I'd rather be opening than closing. It's during the bad economy that good deals are cut. Who knows by the end of the year maybe we'll do something else."
<< BackPage 2 of 2 (view all on one page)
Walked by Nonna's today and it looks great. Having eaten at the only other table service restaurant out in the main concourse, this is a welcome addition. However unless I my departing flight is delayed, I will probably not eat at Nonna's. It would be nice if they had designed the concourses with the restaurants in front the security gates just beyond the restaurants that way people could eat with family members who aren't flying before their flights. The Columbus airport did this and it works very well.
Is Concourse D the Midwest (I mean Delta) filled gate concourse? I would consider eating there if waiting for someone, or wasting time if my flight was delayed..but oh wait you can't get past security unless you are flying in and out of Concourse D nevermind.
Too bad there is no Sobelmans at the airport!
What a blessing. The dining options in MKE are horrid. The new Alterra in C is great. Now if only the airport could somehow figure out how to allow for one security check-in with access to all terminals. As a frequent traveler, this is a pain in the arse.
4 comments about this article.
Post a comment / write a review.
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.