At Bartolotta Restaurants, a brother adjusts to life without the other

Nov 18, 2019 503

BY: Carol Deptolla

For more than 25 years, Joe Bartolotta had been the very public face of Bartolotta Restaurants, a dining empire of 10 public restaurants plus catering at several prominent venues, restaurants for employees at the Kohl’s corporate campus, and franchise licensing for three airport restaurants.

His death in April came as a shock but not a surprise, said his younger brother, Paul Bartolotta, the acclaimed chef who has won two James Beard Awards for his work in Chicago and Las Vegas. Joe had health challenges for years — he’d had diabetes since he was 22. In 2013, he made public that he’d undergone a kidney transplant operation to extend his life. Paul recalled that his brother had said years ago that he might not make it to 50. Joe was 60 when he died. 

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