To kick off Father’s Day, we’re featuring Chef Stephen Lewandowski of Townhouse! Along with Partner & Director of Operations Dana Cifone, Chef Lewandowski opened Townhouse in January 2020, and it has become a go-to of ours and so many other Greenwich Moms (and Dads), for everything from casual girl’s nights to business celebrations.
We spoke to this Dad of four for this week’s “Meet a Dad” interview, about his new venture, dad life, and more.
Can you please tell us a bit about your family life?
I met my wife Heather early in my career and we reconnected at Super Bowl XL in Detroit and were married in 2008. We’ve always been a team and supporting each other’s dreams. We have four children – Harlan (12), Anna (10), Clara (8) and Julia (6) and live in Easton, CT – a quiet community with several farms and reservoirs. We enjoy spending time walking and hiking and can easily travel to Vermont to ski, NYC for all that it offers or just spend a relaxing day as a family. Heather works for William Raveis Real Estate and I was so proud to create a special dinner for her and her colleagues to celebrate being named Top Producers.
Nice! What drew you to the Greenwich community?
I really enjoy the people. They are friendly, generous and downright nice people. I love the conversations we have and their adventurous spirit when it comes to food and wine. They always put their trust in me whether it is just a simple dinner, a special occasion or a glass of wine in the lounge.
How would you describe Townhouse for anyone who hasn’t had a chance to come in?
As the name suggests, we want you to feel like you are dining in your home with a guest chef cooking. Our space makes you feel comfortable and relaxed while enjoying delicious food that is intriguing and not intimidating.
What separates it from any other restaurants?
Our space is grand and provides for a very special dining experience. Every design aspect has been well thought out from the chairs to table tops. We put a lot of effort into the training of the staff so the service and food is top notch. We also have several different style event spaces which allows us to do be very creative and flexible.
Can you please tell us about your background and the Townhouse team?
I graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and worked for the Ritz Carlton hotel, Gotham Bar and Grill (NYC), The Peabody Hotel (Orlando) and Myriad Restaurant Group. At Myriad, I was the Executive Chef at Tribeca Grill as well as the Corporate Chef for the group. Working alongside Drew Nieporent, one of America’s most respected and celebrated restauranteurs allowed me to work with some of America’s most respected restaurants – Nobu, Bâtard, and Rubicon to name a few. We even collaborated with several sports stadiums and I conceptualized the Daily Burger which now has 12 outlets inside Madison Square Garden.
In 2012, Heather and I made the move to Connecticut to start our new chapter. As a long-time mentor, Drew lent support and knowledge, which allowed me to open the Harlan’s restaurants.
When the opportunity came about to open a restaurant in Greenwich in 2019, all the key ingredients came together. Drew and I met Dana Cifone, a seasoned Operations Manager and together conceptualized the restaurant. We opened in late January 2020 and created an exceptional dining experience for our guests and have created an amazing team. Fernando Oliveira, Manager has been with us since the beginning and brings a wealth of wine knowledge; our Chef de Cuisine, Brian Zoni brings years of experience to the kitchen and makes it fun to create new dishes.
Amazing and congrats! What are some of your favorite dishes on the menu this season?
I’m always visiting the local farms and this summer I love the green vegetables. Our Black Trumpet Crusted Lamb Loin comes with asparagus, ramps, summer squash, peas, spinach and is finished with a spiced carrot puree. It’s the perfect blend of some heat, sweetness, earthiness and richness.
Another dish, is the Gem Lettuce & Feta Salad – a mix of sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, red onion and balsamic. The lettuce is light and crisp which works well with all the textures of the vegetables. The feta adds a little salt and the balsamic vinaigrette brings it all together.
Anything else new for summer?
Now that the weather is better, we’ve opened our patio. Heather and I just returned from Napa Valley and we’re partnering with Duckhorn Portfolio for a special wine dinner on June 22nd. One of our favorite wineries in Napa is Harlan Estate (my wife’s maiden name and son’s first) and I’d love to create a dinner with them.
What’s your favorite part of being a dad?
Watching the joy on my children’s faces when they accomplish something. Whether it is a sporting event or school lesson plan, I love to watch them achieve a goal they set. I enjoy watching them grow and become their own person.
Do you have any favorite Dad advice?
Make Time! Everyone is busy but it is so important to make sure you are there for all their individual achievements. It means the world to them and you are setting them up for success when they become parents.
Great advice~ What are you doing to celebrate Father’s Day?
We’ll celebrate by being together! I’m sure my kids will have breakfast waiting for me in the morning and we’ll spend time together before I head to Townhouse.
This story is sponsored by Townhouse.