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New restaurant set to open in downtown Oconomowoc

"Local people have to help local people," says owner

The Zekiri fam ily — Sally, Shane, Mike, Vjolka and Ferit —will open the Two Sisters Cafe in Oconomowoc later this month.

The Zekiri fam ily — Sally, Shane, Mike, Vjolka and Ferit —will open the Two Sisters Cafe in Oconomowoc later this month.

Feb. 12, 2014

It's family first at the Two Sisters Cafe, expected to open later this month at the former location of Around the Lakes Restaurant.

Mike and Sally Zekiri have been in the restaurant business for almost 20 years, since they first arrived in America in 1995. Mike Zekiri said he and his wife started working at his uncle's restaurant in Whitewater after the family emigrated from Albania.

"We started as dishwashers," Mike Zekiri said. "Then we worked in the kitchen on the line, and then later [I worked] as a chef."

In 2000, they started their own restaurant in Juneau called PJ's, which they ran for 12 years. The Zekiris have three children — Vjolca, 25, Shane, 20, and Ferit, 18 — all of whom were expected to help out at PJ's after school.

Vjolca Asani (she recently married) said the family sets itself apart through its work ethic. All three children are attending college, but Asani said she and her siblings will continue to work at the cafe in their free time.

"Working together as a family, we have done it for so long," Asani said. "We count on each other and never let each other down. It is a family-friendly restaurant and a family business."

Asani said her father will probably work in the kitchen while her mother works in the dining hall.

"My mom loves to be out front and mingling with the customers," she said. "She is very good at that."

They plan to hire additional staff to help out in the kitchen and to wait tables, Asani said.

The name of the cafe came at Asani and Shane's suggestion, Mike Zekiri said.

"They wanted it to be named after them, Two Sisters," he said, laughing. "I said, 'OK, I am not against it.'"

The cafe, 515 E. Wisconsin Ave., is expected to open Monday, Feb. 24, and will serve American food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant will also host a Friday night fish fry, Mike Zekiri said.

Mike Zekiri said he and his wife plan to move to Oconomowoc once the business is established. He said his reason for moving is so that he could be closer to his children and because of the nice things he has heard about the community.

"We heard they support local businesses," Mike Zekiri said. "We do, too. Local people have to help local people."

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2014-15 "Destination Oconomowoc" special section:

 

Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

ArtWorks: Studio Clearance: 10 a.m. Jan. 24, Waukesha County Expo Center, 1000 Northview Road, Waukesha. Artists clean out their studios, reduce the price and blow out their inventory. Admission is $5 or free with two canned food items for the Food Pantry of Waukesha. www.artworkswisconsin.com

Bill Camplin: 4 p.m. Jan. 25, Hawks Inn Visitor Center, 426 Wells St., Delafield.  Winter Concert Series presented by SummerStage and the Delafield Public Library. $10. Wine, beer and soda available for purchase. Call (262) 337-1560, www.summerstageofdelafield.org

"The Dastardly Ficus": 7:30 p.m. Jan. 23-24; 2 p.m. Jan. 25, Lake Country Playhouse, 221 E. Capitol Drive, Hartland. ’The Dastardly Ficus and Other Comedic Tales of Woe and Misery’ is a trip down Insanity Lane with a tale of two sisters, neither of whom is playing with a full deck.  Tickets are available at www.lakecountryplayhouse.net. $15 general seating, $18 reserved seating in first two rows. www.lakecountryplayhouse.net. 

Scat, Tracks, and Signs: 10 a.m. Jan. 24, Vernon Marsh Wildlife Area, , Mukwonago. Learn to distinguish mammal tracks and other wildlife signs, and then go on a hike to find and identify these tracks. Dress for the weather. Free .www.dnr.wi.gov.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

All weekend happenings.