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Storytelling: Sasha Butinas, Owner of House of Bogini

Updated: Jan 19

“Lake Geneva is my hometown, my root system. I have always had something that calls me here and keeps me here. After traveling for so long when I was younger, coming back to a position in the restaurant industry, I realized that restaurants were the next step for me. I had to get back into Downtown, back to home base so I could grow from there. This is the first step in many, many things to come. And I had to come home to do that.

I've always been first and foremost an environmentalist. I thought, ‘what can I do to shine light on something and make it better than what I've always known?’ I've known the restaurant industry since I was 18. So, what do I already know that I can take to make the industry better? How can I be the person to mentor and help other restaurateurs follow the path to a healthier planet? I didn’t see anybody pioneering or blazing the way. I took it upon myself to say, ‘I see a void, and it's what I know. I'm going to show that you can do better with your packaging, you can do better with the plating of your food, you can do better with how you source your food. You can do better with what you put in your body and how you treat the planet in the meantime.’

Locally, I started vending at the Farmer’s Market on Thursday mornings at Horticultural Hall under my Barefoot Blonde Farms LLC. That company is health and wellness but on a retail side. It's growing produce and it's introducing everybody to natural skincare and other products. With Barefoot Blonde Farms, I am demonstrating that what you're putting in your body, as well as what you're putting on your body, has a big effect on your well-being.

House of Bogini is an example of what can be done by focusing on more sustainable practices, locally-sourced products, and delicious tasting food. We are involved in every step along the way, and we’re demonstrating the end product of healthy practices. The meat is sourced from local farmers I have formed relationships with over the years. I grow 80% of the produce. I grow the microgreens that not only adorn the plate, but also provide huge health benefits. I show a better way to have less environmental impact on the industry.

Bogini in Polish and Russian means ‘goddess’ and I’m paying homage to our Mother Earth who takes good care of us. House of Bogini, to me, is actually our feminine divinity of the human earth. This is my way of striving to take care of Her.

We have a Ladies’ Night every Wednesday from 6-9pm with live music and $5 house wines. Sometimes I’ll throw a specialty menu item on there as well for women to enjoy. Not in a sexist way, but I want women to know that they have a place to come and relax. We want it to be a little break in the week. A chance to be a part of the community and have a good time. I would love everybody to know that they have a place that they can feel good about walking away from. That they've done better for themselves, better for the earth, and maybe you take the experience with them to spread the word.

Next, I see House of Bogini traveling. I'm going to take this to other places and other states and see if we can stir the pot a little bit more.” - Sasha B. House Of Bogini 152 Center Street, Lake Geneva, WI

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