BY NICOLE KIEFERT | PHOTOS BY DAVID SZYMANSKI
Sobie’s Restaurant co-owners Mike and Lydia Sobol met more than 20 years ago at Lydia’s father’s Michigan brew pub. Mike signed on as a sous chef, and Lydia — who was then a new college grad killing time behind the bar — says the rest is history.
The pair finally made their shared dream of opening their own restaurant a reality when they debuted their Oconomowoc eatery last year. Sobie’s offers a variety of farm-to-table dishes carefully crafted from the freshest ingredients the Sobols can get from local farms and other producers and partnerships. “I like small businesses,” Mike explains. “I don’t see the need to support large businesses when other people are trying to do it as well. So the more I can buy from the community, the more money stays in the community, and it strengthens upward.”
“Mike is surely a from-scratch chef,” Lydia adds proudly. “Salad dressings, sauces ... he even makes his own mayonnaise. We’re getting fresh, high-quality products as close as we can get it.”
For the beautiful blueberry basil bruschetta pictured here, baguette slices are spread with delectable goat cheese and topped with balsamic glaze, blueberry coulis, whole blueberries and chopped basil for a bite that is at once, fresh, creamy, sweet and savory.
Mike swaps out the restaurant’s menu three times per year and often creates nightly specials. And yes, the Michigan transplants proudly offer a traditional Wisco fish fry on Fridays.
“With 30 years of experience in different kitchens, Mike knows what he likes to cook and what has sold well,” Lydia says of her spouse. “It’s kind of a conglomeration of our favorite dishes from our favorite restaurants from everywhere we’ve ever been.”
By day, Lydia works as a teacher, then heads for the restaurant four or five nights a week to pitch in. The couple’s son, Will, also happily helps out. “He takes great pride in it when he’s here,” Lydia beams. “The whole family is here, so that’s really cool.”
Sobie’s Restaurant, 123 E. Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc, (262) 354-0812, sobiesrestaurant.com MKE