Chef Stephen Lewandowski opened Harlan Social in August of 2012. Named for his son (Harlan) and the atmosphere he wanted to create (Social), the restaurant is an innovative American gastropub that pairs a refined culinary experience with the warmth and comfort of a relaxed neighborhood meeting place. The dining experience is built around culinary versatility as Chef Lewandowski has traveled extensively throughout more than 30 countries. He’s used these experiences to create the restaurant’s unique and seasonal menus that offer robust American flavors combined with inspiration from his travels around the world.
Stephen's experience reflects training in all aspects of the culinary world - corporate, conventional, fine dining, and off premise, to name a few. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, he became the Sous Chef at Manhattan’s Abby restaurant. He continued to polish his craft at Gotham Bar & Grill and then at Fantino in the Ritz Carlton. Stephen stayed with Ritz Carlton for several years, cooking in various cities across the US. In 1999, he was named executive sous chef for the Peabody Orlando, where he oversaw all five restaurants for the 1000-room hotel. He joined Tribeca Grill in 2000 and was promoted to executive chef in 2003. Stephen has traveled throughout the world with Regent Seven Seas as a celebrated guest chef. His cooking and dining experience abroad influence his food at both Harlan Social and Harlan Publick.
Stephen participates in many charitable events, including Taste of the NFL and City Meals on Wheels. He is actively involved in AIWP’s Day of Taste, a discovery-based program that teaches 4th and 5th grade students how food weaves its way from farm-to-table.
Stephen has been featured in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Bon Appetit, Wine Spectator, Cooking Light, and Food and Wine. He has also made multiple media appearances, including the Food Network, CNN, Good Morning America, Martha Stewart Omnimedia, Fox News, Toni On! New York, Behind the Burner, In New York, WHERE Magazine, and Julie & Julia Promotions.
Executive Chef Michael Sobelman realized that being a chef was his calling after one week on the hot line at a high volume pre-theather NYC restaurant. From there he spent time training and doing seasonal work in Rhode Island, preparing food in a classic French kitchen. He eventually made his way to downtown New York City at Drew Nieporent’s Tribeca Grill, where his skills were refined under the instruction of Don Pintabona and Stephen Lewandowski. Michael continued with Tribeca and worked with Drew on his new projects such as Taste of NFL, Taste of Tribeca and the Tribeca Film Festival. He left the Grill and opened The Acela Club at Citifield Stadium. In 2012, Michael reconnected with Chef Owner Stephen Lewandowski to successfully open Harlan Social in Stamford, CT and most recently Harlan Publick in SONO. Today Michael runs the kitchen, creating new menu items, ensuring quality and teaching the next generation of chefs the trade.
General Manager / Sommelier
Chris Messina had a passion for food at a very young age and began working in restaurants when he was 16yrs old. He traveled extensively around Europe, cooking and studying while he attended culinary school in New York City, and immediately landed a job in the kitchen of world-renowned chef, Jean-George Vongerichten, at his flagship restaurant "Jean-George" after he graduated.
A year later Chris decided to continue pursuing his passion, but move into the dining room to learn how to manage and operate restaurants. He got a job working for James Beard Award winning restaurateur, Drew Nieporent at the Tribeca Grill where he first met Executive Chef Stephen Lewandowski and Chef de Cuisine Michael Sobelman
Chris went through a vigorous management in training program while passing the American Sommelier Association course to become a certified Sommelier at the same time. In 2009 Drew Nieporent teamed with Aramark at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets to open Acela Club Restaurant. Chris took the position of restaurant manager at the stadium while managing at Tribeca Grill during the baseball off-season.
By 2012 he transitioned completely over to Aramark at Citi Field and within 2 years was promoted to Director of Premium Services, where he was responsible for all premium amenities in the stadium, including 2 restaurants, 4 bars, in-seat service, VIP concessions and the owners suites.
Chris and Stephen maintained a relationship through the years and in 2015 Chris joined Harlan Social as General Manager.
Raised in a rural town along old Route 66 in Arizona and trained by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin, Texas, Stacey has a passion for fusing new flavors with the traditional southwestern tastes she grew up with. She also brings a diverse mix of restaurant experience to Harlan Social that includes cooking for farm-to-table, specialty steakhouses, banquet operations at a luxury resort and spa, even the suites at the University of Phoenix stadium. Stacey began as a line cook when Harlan Social first opened. She dedicated herself to the grind and learned every aspect of the kitchen to reach Sous Chef in the spring of 2014.
Assistant General Manager
John Stasko moved back to Fairfield County after graduating from Salve Regina University in Newport RI. He found his passion for food and customer service while working as a butcher in Weston, Connecticut in the early 2000's. John has worked as across all parts of restaurants from being a line cook and bartender to becoming a front-of-house manager. He joined the Harlan Social management team in April, 2014 and helps run the bar and dining room floor.