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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

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George Webb's famous prediction.
George Webb's famous prediction.

George Webb's takes the high road in Brewers' burger giveaway

You really have to hand it to George Webb, the venerable Milwaukee restaurant chain.

There may be a "new" kid on the block, trying to mimic Webb’s claim to fame, but the Webb people aren’t all that concerned.

The deal is that for 65 years Webb has been offering free burgers if the Milwaukee Brewers win a certain number of consecutive games. Currently that number is 12.

This year, Sobelman’s, the popular bar/restaurant in the Menomonee Valley, offered a promotion to give away free burgers if the Brewers win 10 straight.

I’m a lot more bothered by this than Webb’s seems to be.

"Let them do what they want," said Ryan Stamm, whose dad used to own the chain. "We’ve been offering this for 65 years and paid off once, in 1987. Who cares what they do?"

Dave Sobelman, owner of the bar, said he wasn’t concerned about any criticism that he was playing off somebody else’s idea.

"We announced this two days before opening day," he said. "I really haven’t heard that much criticism from anyone … except that elite downtown crowd."

Well, at least one person isn’t all that enamored of his idea to replicate a Milwaukee institution, and at 70, I don’t consider myself part of this "downtown elite crowd."

That would be kind of like someone building a duplicate of the Calatrava and filling it with sunglasses stores and and a mini-mart. Or somebody who gets the monthly flavor of the day card from Kopp’s and does the exact same thing every day at his custard stand.

One thing Milwaukee doesn’t like is people who mess with our traditions. We revere our traditions.

I really admire Webb for taking the high road on this whole thing. They are going to keep on doing what they have kept on doing for over six decades. Good for them.

Sobleman makes a good burger, and for some, his restaurant is also a Milwaukee institution. He’s won our readers’ choice award several times. He’s advertised with us in the past, too.

And I’d love it if Sobelman’s had decided to offer free Bloody Marys or jalapeno cheese balls or broccoli cheddar bites for the consecutive Brewers wins. Or free beer, like Wonder Bar, 5520 W. Vliet St.

I just wish they had left the burger deal with the original.

Talkbacks

High_Life_Man | April 15, 2014 at 2:04 a.m. (report)

How is it Joe Block sounds more excited in a Tweet than he does on the radio?

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AndrewJ | April 14, 2014 at 1:55 p.m. (report)

36464 Trust me... If Sobelman's gives away a free burger, and if Webbs gives away a free burger, it's NOT the same thing. The difference would be like Carnivore giving away free filets, and Applebee's giving away a roadkill sirloin, then someone saying they're both "steak".

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Photodavie | April 14, 2014 at 1:20 p.m. (report)

36366 Dave, 1st off, Have you had a Sobelman burger? You can't compare it to a Webbs burger. One is fresh and amazing, while the other is a thin, frozen, basic $1 fast-food burger. 2nd, Webbs doesn't own the rights to sports winning streak promotions. As a consumer, the more businesses that want to giveaway free food, the better. So after 10 wins, I'll be having a sobelmans burger with a cold beer. While after 12 wins, you wait in line for your flat Webbs burger with soda-pop. Either way, hopefully the Brewers will win 12 in a row. Go Brewers!

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