There was a giddy atmosphere at the former Schwai’s in Cedar Creek as Dave Sobelman and his franchisee Travis Dowden, 30, met the majority of the Schwai family.
“This is phenomenal,” said Pat Puestow, one of the Schwai family who grew up in the building.
On Friday Sobelman, owner of Sobelman’s Pub & Grill, joined building owners Kevin and Amy Zimmer and a handful of Schwai’s to make the official announcement that the Milwaukee-based restaurant chain would be leasing the building and opening a restaurant in Cedar Creek this summer.
Sobelman’s is known for its award-winning burgers and Bloody Marys.
“I feel like I won the lottery,” said Zimmer.
For nearly two years the Zimmers have been working to upgrade the building that dates to the 1800s and was home to three generations of Schwai’s.
As part of the Sobelman’s announcement there was also a casual ceremony to replant a time capsule into the bones of the building.
Franchisee Dowden, dressed in a black polo shirt, was reveling in the hype and enthusiasm.
“My partner Ben Anderson and I have both been in the corporate world and we didn’t see ourselves there long term – we wanted to do something different,” Dowden said. “We know the Sobelman’s brand and we saw Dave was going to be franchising and we thought it would be an interesting opportunity.”
For the past six months Dowden, his wife and Anderson have been working alongside Sobelman and learning the business. “It’s a great brand, a great opportunity and I’m so excited to be expanding into Washington County.”
Adam D. Williquette, Senior Vice President of Anderson Commercial Group, was the real estate leasing agent responsible for solidifying the deal.
The grand opening is expected in a couple of months, possibly July, as the remodel of the former Schwai’s is completed.