Joe Bartolotta, president and co-owner of the Milwaukee multiconcept restaurant group that bears his name, died Monday night, according to the company. He was 60 years old.
Bartolotta’s cause of death was not revealed.
Bartolotta ran The Bartolotta Restaurants with his younger brother Paul, a chef. They started the company in 1993 as a fine-dining operation focused on Milwaukee, building off Paul’s experience as a protege of famed New York City restaurateur Tony May.
The company diversified into catering and contract management, and opened and briefly ran an Italian restaurant in Las Vegas’ Wynn casino-hotel. But their main focus was Milwaukee, where they operated acclaimed fine-dining establishments such as Bacchus and Harbor House.
The pair branched into more casual places with concepts such as The Rumpus Room and Pizzeria Piccola. Today, the company’s holdings extend to 10 places.
In a statement posted on social media, Bartolotta Restaurants said its co-founder “passed away peacefully in his sleep with a smile on his face,” and indicated that it will provide more information as it becomes available.