For nearly four decades, Skip's has been serving the finest in Prime Rib, hand-carved steaks, chops, seafood and more. Garnering numerous awards throughout the years, Skip's is renowned for its quality food, service and atmosphere.
The history of Skip's began in 1964 when Skip Sobecki, then 26, and his wife, Barb, bought Duffy's corner bar and grocery store in Heston, Ind. It was a leap of faith for the couple. With three young children and another on the way, Skip was financially secure with a full-time job at Clark Equipment. But it had always been a dream of Skip's to own a bar. So with the help of Barb's parents, they purchased the out-of-the-way tavern and began a career in the restaurant business that eventually would span more than three decades.
The Sobeckis renamed their new business The Heston Bar. It was a tough business. Even though they had a loyal customer base of "locals," they struggled financially for years. In an effort to drum up more than a beer-and-wine business, the couple created a bar menu and began serving food. Those first Friday-night fish fries were cooked from a home-size deep fryer and the barbequed ribs were simmered in a roasting pan, Barb fondly remembers. Skip remembers selling a ribeye steak dinner with a salad and French fries for $1.95.
"We bought a dozen plates and a dozen steak knives," he laughed, also noting that the ribeye was cooked on a used table-top gas grill that he purchased for $25. Their business grew and Heston Bar soon was serving enough food annually to warrant a liquor license. But it was the prime rib that Skip offered as a dinner special one evening that created a unforgettable reputation that would journey with him to his next venture and dub Skip "The Prime Rib Specialist."
With Heston Bar hugely successful, an opportunity arose in 1974 to purchase an old restaurant in New Buffalo called the Czech Hospoda. Skip, who also boasts magnificent carpentry skills, immersed himself in renovating the turn-of-the-century building. With the majority of his time now being spent in New Buffalo, Heston customers regularly inquired of Skip's whereabouts. The answer was always the same: "He's at the other place." When it came time to name his new restaurant, it seemed only befitting that it be called "Skip's Other Place."
But after nearly a decade, Skip and Barb found that operating two restaurants in two states was too daunting a task. Therefore, with the passing of Barb's father in 1980, the couple made the decision to sell Heston Bar. It was officially sold in 1982 and the Other Place became their only place.
Bret, Skip and Barb's oldest son, began working for his father at the age of five, putting soda pop bottles back in wooden crates at Heston. He would grow up in the business, becoming the head cook in his teens, and eventually a partner with his parents in the Other Place. In 1981, Bret met his wife, Rhonda. They married in 1982 and had two children, April and Matt. April is a mental health therapist in Indianapolis, but she still travels home on holidays to work alongside her parents and Matt works full-time as the bar manager
Bret and Rhonda, who left her career as a reporter to return to Skip's, purchased the restaurant from Skip and Barb in 2005. Skip and Barb are now happily retired.
Although Bret and Rhonda dropped the "Other Place" from the restaurant's name - calling it simply Skip's Restaurant & Catering, they have continued the tradition of quality food and service set forth by Bret's parents in 1964. Bret manages the kitchen and cooks nightly, Rhonda manages the books and works the front-of-the-house nightly. Skip's employs nearly 40 employees, who collectively each have more than 10 years of service with the company with many employees celebrating more than 20 years.
Rhonda has created an extensive banquet/buffet menu for large groups and works one-on-one with clients to customize their menus and stabilize their budgets - whether it's in-house or off-site catering. Skip's is available for on-site and off-site catering for a variety of events including, but not limited to, rehearsal dinners, wedding receptions, anniversaries, graduations, funerals, birthdays, retirements, family gatherings and more.