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Around the Lakes changes ownership after 24 years

Jan. 28, 2013

City of Oconomowoc - A longtime downtown restaurant is now operating under new ownership.

Around the Lakes Restaurant, 515 E. Wisconsin Ave., a popular Oconomowoc family eatery, was recently sold and reopened Jan. 25 after some initial refurbishing by the new proprietor.

"We did some painting and cleaning," said new owner Frank Suloja, who purchased the restaurant from the Islami family who owned the restaurant for approximately 24 years.

The new owner said after learning the restaurant was for sale, that it was actually the City of Oconomowoc itself that attracted him to it and helped to seal the business deal.

"It's a growing city and the economy looks good in Oconomowoc; the downtown looks good," he explained.

Suloja has an extensive background in the restaurant industry and currently owns and operates five restaurants in the Watertown, Jefferson and Lake Mills areas.

"For 17 years in Watertown I have had the Rose Garden Restaurant," he said.

Under the previous owners, the menu at Around the Lakes was varied, offering a wide assortment of selections; Suloja said he intends to offer a similar selection.

While a preliminary staff is in place, Suloja said they will be looking to hire additional employees to staff the restaurant, which will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

The new owner said that other planned upgrades to the site will be done in the near future, but can be accommodated while the business is operating.

Around the Lakes earned a spot in the annals city lore after it became the site of a raging fire in December 2000 in which no one was injured, but the building was destroyed.

The blaze started in the upstairs portion of the structure, gutting the entire building.

Firefighting efforts were hampered, complicated by subzero temperatures and more than 13 inches of snow that had recently blanketed the area.

Rebuilding efforts commenced soon after the incident and the Islami family continued to operate the popular business until the recent sale.

Suloja said the name of the eatery will remain the same.

"We're keeping the name; everyone knows Around the Lakes Restaurant," he said.

He invites longtime customers, and those new to the restaurant, to visit.

"We want people to come and try us and see our changes," Suloja added.

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

Rotary Pancake Day: 7:30 a.m. Feb. 28, Waukesha County Expo Center, 1000 Northview Road, Waukesha. Fundraiser for the Waukesha Rotary Club is 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Expo Center Arena. Advance tickets at Waukesha State Bank, downtown location., $5-$7. $5 advance, $7 at the door; free for children 5 and younger. www.waukesharotary.org.

Ninth Annual Oconomowoc Rotary Wine & Brew Fest: 5 p.m. Feb. 28, Olympia Resort, 1350 Royale Mile Rd, Oconomowoc. Wine, food and beer. Features foods from the best of our local restaurants. Purchase tickets at $50 from an O-Town Rotarian, through Facebook, or in person at most area First Bank Financial Centre locations, Books & Company & Lorleberg True Value Hardware. See more at www.oconomowocrotary.org. $50.

Chili Tasting: 11 a.m. Feb. 28, The Garden Mart, W297 S9115 Highway 83, Mukwonago. Chili tasting from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Local vendors will be selling unique merchandise. Judging is open to the public and all proceeds from voting will be donated to the Mukwonago Food Pantry. Event is free. Call (262) 363-5252 for information.

Dr. Seuss Birthday Bash Literacy Event: 10 a.m. Feb. 28, Hartland North Elementary, 232 Church Street, Hartland. Families with children in 4-year old kindergarten through second grade are invited to a special event. The Cat in the Hat and the Lorax will celebrate with a big birthday cake for all of our guests along with lots of literacy activities based around Dr. Seuss books.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

All weekend happenings.