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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Sobelman’s @Marquette open for big appetites

Dave Sobleman helps out in the kitchen at the new Marquette location. Photo by Elise Krivit / [email protected]

Despite original reports from Marquette stating the restaurant would open on Friday, Aug. 26, Dave and Melanie Sobelman opened Sobelman’s @Marquette opened on Monday, Aug. 22, after a month and a half of preparation and to the delight of the hoards of hunger burger seekers returning to campus.

The new restaurant, located at 1601 W. Wells St., occupies the building previously home to Angelo’s Pizza Restaurant and Bar, a staple on the Marquette campus for more than half a century.

Dave Sobelman said he will meet with the Milwaukee Common Council in early September to apply for a liquor license. The Common Council does not meet in the month of August, which delayed that process.

In the first week of business, the restaurant has hit the ground running, Sobelman said.

“Most restaurants are like a baby,” Sobelman said. “First it crawls, then it walks, talks and so on. (Sobelman’s @Marquette), on the other hand, was running right out of the womb.”

Sobelman and the staff were immediately bombarded by customers, selling more than 1,300 burgers in the first two days of business, he said. Since then, the restaurant has been operating at nearly full capacity, with diners often lined up out the door waiting to be seated.

Despite the high demand for burgers in the Marquette location, Sobelman said he did not expect the original Sobelman’s Pub N Grill at 1900 W. St. Paul Ave. to be affected by the second location. He said both locations had been busy last week.

Sobelman said the original restaurant, which is very similar to the Marquette location, catered to factory workers and the homeless when it first opened 12 years ago, cashing checks for early customers and renting out rooms upstairs to some homeless people.

Later Sobelman served the crews that built the Potawatomi Casino at 1721 W. Canal Street, as well as crew bosses and owners of local businesses.

He said the first link to the Marquette community came during one of his first few years of business, when he saw a group of students jogging. Sobelman said he ran out and stopped them, offering each of the students a card good for one draft beer. The men returned and turned out to be the Marquette wrestling team.

Sobelman said the team brought their friends, who brought their friends, and, as time passed, more and more Marquette students would frequent the bar for burgers and beer.

He said it was weird rising from Sobelman’s blue-collar beginnings to ultimately receiving national recognition by the Travel Channel’s television series “Food Wars” last May.

Melanie Sobelman, Dave Sobelman’s wife, said the initial week at Marquette was going well. She said the restaurant was about 95 percent complete, but work still had to be done with storage space.

Tomas Garcia, manager of the Marquette location, said the staff will consist of about half Marquette students. Garcia, who has worked for Sobelman’s for five years, said the staff was very busy and still learning on the fly.

Dave Sobelman said he was “humbled and flattered” by Marquette’s offer to lease him the building in the heart of campus.

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