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The new East Side restaurant's name pays homage to its predecessor.

The Original is in the home stretch. The official roll-out date is Thursday, Sept. 21, but you can experience it earlier than that. The restaurant taking over Red Dot’s old East Side digs (2498 N. Bartlett Ave.) is doing two nights of pre-opening dinners featuring discounted entrées. The dinners are Sept. 18 and 19, with just two seatings: 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Call 414-559-6810 to make a reservation.

Background on The Original’s name: Owners, brothers Eric and Craig Rzepka and Eric’s wife Jennifer, bought the business from Red Dot’s Martin Beaudoin (who opened Red Dot Tosa in 2013). The Rzepkas are using the name in homage to its predecessor, which Beaudoin reportedly called The Original Red Dot. You also may remember the space as the old Al Calderone Club.  

On the dinner menu, items include shared plates like chicken liver mousse, Nashville hot tofu and cauliflower, and Laughing Bird shrimp (roughly $7-$12). The entrées? They’re things like Cornish hen with fried farro, beer-braised pork cheek with spaetzle and mustard creme fraiche, and a grilled flat-iron steak with duck-fast marbled potatoes and haricot verts (in the $15-$30 range).

As at the old Red Dot, The Original will serve brunch, with the menu featuring house mini-doughnuts, biscuits and gravy, a Wisconsin breakfast burger, shrimp and grits, classic eggs Benedict and oatmeal pancakes with peach-berry topping. 

One of the Original’s promotions is “414 for $414.” It’s four courses for four diners. They feature a craft cocktail, a starter paired with an aperitif, an entrée matched with a beer or wine, and a dessert served with coffee. Eric Rzepka says the 414 option will require an advance reservation and the menu will be “tailored to” the diners who’ve made the reservation.

Food-service hours: Dinner daily 4-10 p.m. Brunch Sat-Sun 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

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