Leadership: Carl Sobocinski, president and founder
HQ: Greenville, S.C.
Systemwide sales: $20 million
Concepts: Soby’s; The Lazy Goat; Nose Dive; Passerelle; Southern Pressed Juicery; Highway 301 food truck; Jianna; and Table 301 Catering & Kitchen.
Carl Sobocinski is originally from New Hampshire, but he came to South Carolina to study architecture at Clemson University and you could say he found his forever home. He opened Soby’s New South Cuisine in 1997 in what was then not much of a downtown at all. But Sobocinski was putting a stake in the ground in a city with potential.
“It was a property I could afford in a less desirable part of main street,” he said. “But I believed in the city’s plans to revitalize and grow … and that one day we’d be right in the heart of downtown, and that happened.”
Now with seven concepts, a catering operation and food truck, Table 301 has very strategically evolved alongside Greenville. Sobocinski said he is inspired by operators like Danny Meyer of Union Square Hospitality Group, who have multiple concepts concentrated in one city where they have a real impact on the dining scene.
Over the years, Sobocinski has often heard the siren call of multiplying concepts. “People have said Soby’s could be in 12 cities,” he said. “I’m sure that would be very lucrative if successful, but that’s not my driving force. I’m so passionate about Greenville and our community. I want to keep leaving my mark here.”
The group is expanding its catering and private-event business with the recent acquisition of an 80,000-square-foot event space dubbed the Avenue. Sobocinski is also looking to support growth of a music scene in Greenville.
“I think there’s a lot of work to be done here,” he said. “And if I had to get into a car for hours or on a plane all the time, I’d pull my hair out.”