New restaurant, Sozial, opens

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey Co-owners Michele Seifert, left, and Jeff Overby sit in a pair of lounge chairs at the front of the new restaurant Sozial.

NEW ULM — Named using the German word for “social,” a new restaurant is inviting customers to be just that.

Sozial, 209 N. Minnesota St., worked out minor kinks last weekend during a soft opening. The restaurant offers a simple menu within a setting designed for comfort and socializing.

“I like this little town, it is nice,” Co-owner Jeff Overby said. “The people were super gracious, the little hiccups we did have Friday and Saturday night, nobody seemed to mind.”

The front end of the restaurant is populated with comfortable seating for patrons to lounge in a less formal atmosphere.

Behind them, a bar stretches back along the right-hand wall. From the front of the eatery, a guest can see all the way back to where cooks are serving up their food. In back, Sozial opens up into a space with the feel of a cafe.

A comfortable atmosphere is the focus of the restaurant, Overby said. He wants a place where friends can gather for food, and families can bring their children.

“When you are in a restaurant, generally, you see the best of humanity most of the time,” Overby said. “People like to come out, have fun and laugh. To me that is appealing.”

The most popular dishes over the weekend were the bacon meatloaf, shrimp pasta and miso glazed salmon, Overby said.

One dish that may catch the interest of customers, particularly vegetarians or health-conscious eaters, is the Impossible Burger.

Masquerading as an all-beef patty, the burger is in fact made entirely out of vegetables.

“It is a plant-based burger and if I did not tell you, you would not know,” Overby said. “It actually bleeds.”

Designed by Impossible Foods, the burger was created after five years of research on the exact molecular structure of beef to mimic every part of the experience of eating a burger.

The result is billed as an environmentally-friendly food that tastes just like meat thanks to an iron-containing compound called heme. Heme carries oxygen in the blood and is abundant in muscle tissue, according to Impossible Food’s website.

Sozial offers custom burgers, salads, pasta, steak, a kids’ menu and the Canadian side dish poutine.

Overby came to New Ulm from Omaha, Neb., looking for a small-town vibe akin to his hometown of Minot, N.D.

“Omaha, it is just getting huge — it is too big,” Overby said. “Anywhere you want to drive, it is half an hour or 45 minutes to get across town.”

Michele Seifert, who co-owns the restaurant, is a New Ulm native and jumped at the chance to open a restaurant at the former location of The Pantry.

The pair signed a deal for the space in February. It took mostly minor changes to go from The Pantry to Sozial.

The restaurant is open Tuesday through Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays 4 p.m.–11 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m.–11 p.m. and Sundays 8 a.m.–2 p.m.

Connor Cummiskey can be emailed at ccummiskey@nujournal.com.

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