Steve Schirripa, aka Bobby Bacala, Loves Paul Bartolotta’s Cooking

“Sopranos” star Steve Schirripa talked about the Milwaukee restaurateur in a podcast episode.

“The Sopranos” is the best show of all time, and the model-train-loving, Tony-beating, fat-suit-clad Bobby Bacala, played by Steve Schirripa, is one of the most beloved characters.

Schirripa and fellow “Sopranos” star Michael Imperioli, who played Christopher Molitisanti, have been hosting the “Talking Sopranos” podcast this past year. Each episode dissects one of the television show’s episodes, including interviews with cast and crew. The podcast is hilarious. Imperioli and Schirripa have a fantastic back-and-forth, and in episode #36, which you can listen to here, they talk about their favorite restaurants.

Schirripa says the following:

“I tell you what, the best meal that I ever had, I was with a buddy of mine in Vegas at the Wynn. Bartolotta, it’s called. It’s not there anymore. It’s Paul Bartolotta. It’s a fish restaurant [Ristorante di Mare], and he flies the fish over every couple days from Italy. He owns a bunch of restaurants in Wisconsin: Milwaukee and the surrounding areas. It was the best meal. … He sat with us. He made the menu right there for us. … It was so good I can’t even tell you. … You have a meal that you can’t get out of your head.”

Well, how about that. Paul Bartolotta’s culinary skill won over the one and only Bobby Bacala. Schirripa was born and raised in New York, so Bartolotta’s food was competing with arguably the greatest enclave of Italian restaurants outside of the boot. Count this one as a win for Milwaukee. 

You know, Quasimodo predicted all this.



Archer is the managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine. Some say he is a great warrior and prophet, a man of boundless sight in a world gone blind, a denizen of truth and goodness, a beacon of hope shining bright in this dark world. Others say he smells like cheese.