Hospitality Democracy co-founders step down after 18 years, launch new company

Marcus Investments to take full control of operations

Joe and Angie Sorge

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:22 pm

Joe and Angie Sorge

Angie and Joe Sorge, the co-founders of Milwaukee-based Hospitality Democracy will exit the restaurant group after 18 years to operate their new company, SideWork Hospitality Consulting.

The Sorges in 2000 launched Hospitality Democracy, which now operates Onesto, Swig, Blue Bat Kitchen, Smoke Shack, AJ Bombers and Holey Moley Doughnuts, all located in downtown Milwaukee.

In 2011, a majority portion of the business was purchased by Milwaukee-based Marcus Investments, allowing Hospitality Democracy to grow and open more restaurants. The investment firm will take over full operations when the Sorges officially depart by late summer.

“We’ve had a very successful seven-year run as a result of our partnership with Marcus Investments in Hospitality Democracy, and Angie and I felt that the timing was right to venture out on our own again,” said Joe Sorge.

SideWork will advise nationally-based hospitality operators in creating and opening new concepts.

“We absolutely love the restaurant industry and are excited to advise others in their endeavors and continue to satisfy our entrepreneurial spirit with the new consulting firm,” Angie Sorge said. “We’ve been proactively training our key management team leaders over the last year to ensure the smoothest possible succession.”

The Sorges’ have been transitioning out of the company since the beginning of this year and, Angie said, they expect the restaurants will continue to succeed under the Marcus family’s leadership.

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe Meyer started as an intern reporter at BizTimes in summer 2015. She currently covers entertainment, sports, tourism and restaurants. In May 2017, she graduated with a journalism degree from Marquette University where she worked as an in-depth projects reporter for the Marquette Wire and Marquette Tribune.