Omar Shaikh discusses former business partner, Ryan Braun

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Omar Shaikh

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — When Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun admitted his use of performance-enhancing drugs, many of those who cheered him on felt betrayed — and that includes his friends and business associates. One such business associate, Omar Shaikh, the co-owner and president SURG Restaurant Group, the group that owned Braun’s restaurants, including Ryan Braun’s Graffito and 8-Twelve (the restaurant Braun co-owned with Packers QB Aaron Rodgers) says while what happened with Braun was bad for business, there is a future for their friendship.

Braun was suspended without pay for a large part of the 2013 season for violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Braun initially claimed his connection with the Biogenesis Clinic in Miami was simply for consulting services during his successful 2012 appeal.

In December 2011, a report of Braun testing positive for performance enhancing drugs surfaced.

In February 2012, arbitrators ruled that the chain of custody for Braun’s urine sample in question was compromised, clearing Braun from any MLB punishment. He forcefully defended his name at a Spring Training press conference.

In August 2013, following his suspension, Braun released a written apology, and a letter to fans.

A few weeks ago, it was learned Braun was personally calling season ticket holders and other fans to apologize.

Last week, Braun made his first appearance in Milwaukee since his suspension — meeting with folks at the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

“I didn’t think it could be true, to be honest, so, you know, I believed in a friend. I as shocked. I was shocked. I was disappointed and I was hurt,” Shaikh said.

Shaikh says the pain was personal and professional — as he had to quickly make some business decisions.

“We did cut business ties. We felt that it was in the restaurant’s best interest to cut business ties,” Shaikh said.

Braun’s name was ordered dropped from Graffito, and changes came to 8-Twelve, which was recently re-named “Hom.”

With a new menu nearly ready for release, Shaikh says he is ready to move on.

“Enough time has passed that, you know, he’s apologized to me, and like I said, he’s making a big effort to make it right with us and I feel good about our friendship now,” Shaikh said.

Shaikh says it has helped to consider the broader picture.

“We all make mistakes. Last I checked, none of us were perfect, and you know, at this point, we have to take into consideration all the good that he has done for this community,” Shaikh said.

Shaikh says he continues to consider Braun a friend, albeit one who still has damage to repair.

“He’s realized the mistakes he’s made, and so he also knows that he’s gonna have to do a lot of work and make things right with a lot of people,” Shaikh said.

Shaikh says Graffito is scheduled to close by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Shaikh says he expects to make an announcement in the next couple of weeks regarding the future of the SURG Restaurant Group’s planned location at Bayshore Town Center.