Skip's Restaurant

Serving New Buffalo, Michigan since 1964 . . .
By Rick A. Richards

NEW BUFFALO, Mich. – The first slab of prime rib was cut and served at Skip’s Restaurant in 1964. It remains the most popular item on the menu, says Rhonda Sobecki, who along with her husband, Bret, own the restaurant.

“Prime rib is what we’re known for,” she said. “We do serve a fair amount of seafood, pasta and sandwiches, but of the 5,000 meals a month the restaurant serves, the majority is prime rib.

In 1964, Skip Sobecki and his wife, Barb, bought Duffy’s, a corner bar and grocery store in Heston, Ind. It had been his dream to own a bar and after struggling for years just serving drinks, he and Barb created a menu and began serving food.

Slowly, Heston Bar began making a name for itself and in 1974, Sobecki was able to buy the Czech Hospoda Restaurant in New Buffalo. He renovated the building and for a time it was known as Skip’s Other Place.

In 1982, Sobecki sold Heston Bar and began running Skip’s as his family’s only restaurant. Rhonda and Bret married in 1982 and quickly had two children, April and Matt. In 2005, Rhonda and Bret, who had worked at the restaurant since they were married, bought the restaurant upon Skip's and Barb's retirement, renaming it Skip’s Restaurant & Catering.

“What makes us popular is that you never leave here hungry,” said Rhonda Sobecki. “We’re also proud of being the standard of comparison.”

Rhonda says the biggest misconception of the restaurant is that it’s expensive. “You can get out of here with an average tab of $20. You can get a 16-ounce rib eye for $18.”

Sobecki says the restaurant’s family atmosphere is what helps make it popular. “If I see a face more than twice, I need to know their name,” says Sobecki. “Everybody who comes in here has a story. We have a story; they have a story. Everybody is here for a reason – an anniversary, a birthday, a funeral. Our job is to make them happier when they leave than when they came in.”

In addition to a full menu, Sobecki says the restaurant has a full-service bar where it specializes in a variety of fruity and colorful martinis. For those who don’t consume alcohol, Sobecki says Skip’s also has seven non-alcoholic drinks flavored with choices from ice cream to coffee.

In summer, Skip’s turns its four acres into a farmer’s market that runs from mid-May to mid-October. “Everything in there has to be handmade or home grown,” says Sobecki.

Skip’s Restaurant is on Red Arrow Highway between New Buffalo and Union Pier. For more information, call (269) 469-3330 or visit the website at