Sobelman’s at Marquette remains campus hotspot for students

Sobleman's sits on the corner of Wells Street and 16th Street. Photo by Rebecca Rebholz/

Sobelman’s, a popular restaurant chain, opened its newest location on Marquette’s campus six months ago. Now, owner Dave Sobelman looks back on the successes his three locations have made.

“Mike Whittow, assistant to the vice president of Marquette, said he wanted to talk to me about opening a location on campus, since Angelo’s shut down,” Sobelman said. “I wasn’t looking for a third restaurant, but the offer was pretty flattering, so I took it.”

Located on the corner of 16th and Wells Streets, Sobelman’s at Marquette is in the heart of campus, attracting many hungry students.

“There’s usually a large crowd, but the food is worth the wait,” said Jeffrey Djoum, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration.

The relaxed atmosphere gives students a place to talk and enjoy good food with friends.

“Sobelman’s at Marquette is one big room, so it’s a more personal environment,” said Andy Hampel, a freshman in the College of Engineering. “There are usually all Marquette kids there, so it’s a fun place to be.”

Located at 1900 W. St. Paul Ave, the original Sobelman’s was born in 1999, when Dave and Melanie Sobelman took over the original Schlitz Taverns and renamed it Sobelman’s Pub and Grill.  Since then, Sobelman’s has been subject to immense recognition for its service and food.

In 2009, Sobelman’s was voted Best Marquette Bar and Best Bar in Milwaukee. It also won second place on WISN 12’s A-list award for Best Burger.

“It’s arguably the best burger in Milwaukee, and if it’s good enough to be on the Travel Channel, it’s good enough for me,” Djoum said.

The feeling is mutual.

“I love Marquette,” Dave Sobelman said. “The best thing I ever did was open Sobelman’s at Marquette.”

Sobelman’s other location, Sobelman’s East Side Grill, took a swing at a west coast trend: tall grass-fed beef. He hoped to bring the trend to Milwaukee’s East Side.

“Eastsiders are very savvy when it comes to trends like vegetarianism and veganism. They like that kind of stuff,” Sobelman said.

However, customers were less than thrilled by the new burger.

“When it came down to it, the burger was drier because it didn’t have as much fat. Milwaukee didn’t like that,” Sobelman said. “We’ve since then gone back to our original burger.”

Since the opening of Sobelman’s at Marquette, fewer students have visited the original Sobelman’s Pub and Grill. The decrease in student customers could have contributed to a reported 10 percent decrease in revenue, according to Sobelman.

“We aren’t as busy during the day now,” Sobelman said. “I can’t attribute that all to the opening of the Marquette location though.”

However, Sobelman thinks business has been better since the opening of his newest restaurant.

“It was hard when all of Milwaukee and Marquette students were trying to cram into the small St. Paul location,” Sobelman said. “We’re better off losing that 10 percent because our workers aren’t overstressed and the customers are happy.”

“You can always tell when the customers are happy,” Sobelman said. “They always buy more beer and Bloody Mary’s.”