By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published May 18, 2018 at 6:01 AM

It’s the end of an era, and the beginning of a new journey, for local restaurateurs Angie and Joe Sorge, who announced today that they will be departing Hospitality Democracy, the restaurant group they co-founded and operated for the better part of the last decade with Marcus Investments.

During their tenure, the Sorges have been instrumental in both conceptualizing and operating Hospitality Democracy’s local restaurants, which include Onesto, Swig, Blue Bat Kitchen, Smoke Shack, AJ Bombers and Holey Moley Doughnuts.

"We’ve had a very successful seven-year run as a result of our partnership with Marcus Investments," Joe Sorge says of the decision. "But Angie and I felt that the timing was right to venture out on our own again."

Angie Sorge notes that the two have been proactively training key management over the last year, and will remain involved with the restaurants through the summer to ensure that the transition takes place in the smoothest possible way.

"We know the Marcus family, and their family investment office as a whole, highly value the businesses that we’ve created together," she says. "So we are confident the restaurants will flourish as they always have."

David Marcus, chairman of Marcus Investments, agrees.

"I am very proud of the restaurants we built together," he says. "The Hospitality Democracy team that Joe and Angie built looks forward to continuing to serve our passionate customers."

Moving forward, the Sorges will embark on a new entrepreneurial project, SideWork, a consulting and operations firm that will focus on assisting hospitality operators across the country with a variety of projects, including the creation and launch of new restaurant concepts.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.