Omar Shaikh

Omar Shaikh’s name has become indelibly linked with quality dining in the metro Milwaukee area. His company, SURG Restaurant Group, is synonymous with award-winning cuisine and a unique and contemporary dining atmosphere.

But for Shaikh, who graduated from Stritch with a degree in international business in 2000, the journey to successful restaurateur was quite unexpected. Originally from Brown Deer, Shaikh worked at several restaurants in Los Angeles and he found himself becoming more interested in the business. “I had met so many people and developed so many relationships that I decided I could do something with it,” he said.

 At one restaurant, he started as a bus boy and worked his way up to host, then server, assistant manager, manager, general manager, and finally director of catering for all the restaurants. After gaining valuable experience, Shaikh returned to Wisconsin, and it became apparent that he would benefit from a business degree to bring his varied experiences into focus. “What I had was practical experience,” he said. “What I didn’t have was a business perspective. I still wasn’t 100% sure about what I wanted to do, so a business degree made the most sense to me.”

 His education, coupled with his passion for food and attention to detail, has paid off. His first restaurant, Sake Tumi, opened in 2005 and became one of Milwaukee’s top destinations due to its unusual Japanese-Korean fusion dishes. A year later, he opened Carnevor, a highly acclaimed premiere steakhouse. His restaurant ventures have greatly expanded since that time. He sold Sake Tumi and moved on to Umami Moto, Charro, Hōm Wood Fired Grill, and he has interjected some of his trademark culinary personality as the concessions provider for Bradford Beach in Milwaukee.

 For Shaikh, an inviting but contemporary atmosphere is just as important as outstanding cuisine. To that end, Shaikh has devoted meticulous attention to creating a truly complete dining experience. His latest restaurant, Hōm, located in Brookfield and at Bayshore Town Center in Glendale, offers country style dining made with Wisconsin farm fresh ingredients.

 He also has advice for future Stritch students. “Get yourself out in the community, even as a student, and meet as many people as you can,” he advises. “Realize that there are absolutely no shortcuts in whatever type of business that you do. And find a way to give back when you have become somewhat established.”

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