You may not know Stephen Westman by name, but you should. Westman is the owner of Lakeview Broadcasting Company, a partner in Pete Wentz’s Angels & Kings, and he helped launch the flagship location of Clandestine Industries, the boutique and salon that houses Wentz’s clothing label of the same name.
Now 31, Westman has decided to take on a more behind-the-scenes role: "I don’t want to be out drinking Jack and Cokes until four in the morning," he says. On January 17th, he’ll close LBC to make way for a new project slated to open late February/early March in the same space: 44th Ward Dinner Party (3542 N. Halsted St.), which he fondly calls "the Ward." Part bar, part snack shack, the spot will serve 15 to 25 varieties of everyone’s favorite sandwich, the grilled cheese (think Kuma’s Corner with grilled cheeses in place of burgers). Photos of Wrigleyville and environs will dot the space, and $1 from the sale of certain sandwiches will go to Lakeview charities. Expect some playfulness on the menu, too: The Blago-wich won’t have a price; you’ll have to make a deal with your server when you order it. Drinks will “lean more toward old-school classic cocktails, less froufrou,” Westman says. Beer will run about $3 to $6 and cocktails $6 to $10. And speaking of drinking, here’s one major bonus: At midnight, the classic sandwich (white bread, American cheese) will be $1. What better way to soak up a night’s worth of alcohol? Oh, and there’s also a photo booth. Say “Cheese.”
Westman, who has befriended plenty of nightlife impresarios over the years, has enlisted his fellow Angels & Kings investor Nicholas Scimeca, 24, who comes with his own posse of celebrity pals, and he’s signed on Matt Eisler and Kevin Heisner of the recently opened Bar DeVille (701 N. Damen Ave.) to help with design. Plus, DJ White Shadow, a former partner in LBC, will act as the Ward’s music director, drawing from his own roster of DJs. I caught up with Westman between projects.
1. What’s your drink?
Maker’s Mark and soda, with a splash of ginger ale.
2. Who’s your favorite person to drink with?
My brother. We rehash great moments from The Howard Stern Show.
3. What’s the last book you read?
Making Gay History, by Eric Marcus. (Yes, and proud.)
4. Last movie you saw?
I just rented Into the Wild. I crave substance lately. Thanks to Oprah’s "Best Life Week," I think I’m good until 2012.
5. What’s your favorite TV show right now?
The Real Housewives of Atlanta, in reruns. Larry King Live is a very close second, but somebody should tell him he died.
6. Where do you get your morning coffee?
The Shell Station next to LBC or the 7-Eleven next to Angels & Kings. Pure class.
7. What’s your favorite restaurant?
Las Mañanitas [3253 N. Halsted St.]. Beware, you’ll smell like a taco for the next three days. Seriously.
8. What’s your favorite piece of clothing?
I’m obsessed with my grey sweatpants from Target. When I left corporate America, I vowed to never wear a suit to work again. It’s gotten pretty extreme, but I’m cool with it.
9. Describe in one sentence what you do.
I create experiences that I think are cool and pray to god they resonate with lots of people.
10. If you could have dinner or drinks with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
I’d love to have drinks with my Grandma Lori. She passed away when I was 18. She was one of my best friends. I miss her.
11. What are your three most prized possessions?
My wubby; my bulldog, Ruthie; and my best friend, eBay. I sleep with all three every night.
12. What’s the worst part of the nightlife biz?
13. Best part?
14. Where do you get your local news?
I rock out with Linda Yu on ABC at 11 a.m.
15. What’s the most overdone nightlife concept you’ve seen in the last year?