Sobelmans franchising in Richfield, downtown Waukesha


Photo by Yup Yin

Sobelmans plans to extend franchise to downtown Waukesha and Richfield.

Sobelmans Pub and Grill may be opening two additional Wisconsin locations in attempts to franchise.

Owners Dave and Melanie Sobelman opened their first Sobelmans 17 years ago on St. Paul Ave., and due to popular demand, it has been growing ever since. The restaurant came to Marquette in 2011, and just this past February a third one opened in Mequon.

Now the Sobelmans are stretching their business even further to Richfield and downtown Waukesha. Over the summer, they were also considering a West Bend location, but the deal fell through.

“It was probably good for me,” Dave Sobelman said. “The two potential owners wanted to do their own thing and I wanted to do mine. It was disappointing, but for the better.”

In franchise partners, Dave said he looks for experience, passion for business, compatibility and financial capability.

“Growth is not up to me. It all depends if I meet the right people,” he said.

Those right people may be Al and Nancy Hochmuth, owners of the Richfield location, and Jimmy and Alison Dakolias, owners of the Waukesha location.

Al Hochmuth has years of experience in hospitality and administration at Cousins Subs corporate office in Menomonee Falls and several Burger Kings, but after some time away to be a stay-at-home dad, he wanted to get back into the restaurant business. 

“I’ve always been interested in franchising, but most importantly it’s Dave and Melanie (Sobelman),” Hochmuth said. “It’s what they stand for and what they’ve built over the years. Sobelmans is a winning concept.”

The Richfield Sobelmans will be located in the building that previously housed Amici’s Italian Restorante on 1872 State Road 175, which closed in 2013. Built in the late 1800s, the building’s history and iconic feel will play a huge role in the new restaurant’s success, said Hochmuth, who just signed off on the purchase of the building this week.  

The opening date for the Richfield location is to be determined, but Hochmuth says that once it opens he hopes to not only make customers happy, but also to give back to the local community as the Sobelmans have done.

“I want to become ingrained in the Richfield community,” Hochmuth said.

As for the downtown Waukesha location, its opening will most likely be this December.   

“We’ve always really liked Sobelmans and wanted to bring it to Waukesha,” Alison said.

Before pursuing a Sobelmans franchise, Alison and her husband Jimmy Dakolias owned Bosco’s Social Club on 260 W. Main St. for six years and Spurs Saloon on 332 Williams St. for the past three, which they will now be turning into Sobelmans.

“I hope Sobelmans brings people to downtown Waukesha and they enjoy coming to it,” Alison said.

Dave Sobelman said he has high hopes for both new locations.

“If the restaurants succeed, if the customers like what they’re eating, that would be rewarding. If most customers are happy I’d feel pretty good about myself and I’d be pretty happy too,” he said.