By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Apr 18, 2017 at 12:06 PM

The Westin Hotel, at 550 N. Van Buren St., is taking shape in preparation for its opening during the first week in June. Among its spiffs will be Stella Van Buren, a new modern Italian-American steakhouse.

The restaurant concept, a collaboration between Lettuce Entertain You Consulting Group and White Lodging Corporation, will combine the flavors of a classic Italian kitchen with American steakhouse influences in a bright, modern space with floor-to-ceiling windows and impressive city views. All told, the restaurant will eat about 180, with an additional 50 seats at the bar.

The menu, which will be executed by Chef Justin Winkler, combines comforting selections including slow-cooked meats; fresh seafood; flavorful house-made pasta dishes like baked rigatoni carbonara featuring parmesan cream, fennel sausage, snap pea, runny egg; and Midwest-sourced prime steaks cooked on an infrared grill.

The bar will feature a meticulously curated selection of bourbon, Wisconsin-based draft beer and an extensive wine list focused on both Italian and American varietals.

"Food is serious business in Milwaukee. As a fellow Milwaukeean, I acknowledge that the locals have a passion for great food and appreciate a comfortable and fashion forward atmosphere," notes Chris Anderson, senior vice president and chief revenue officer, White Lodging. "Our goal with Stella Van Buren is to create a restaurant that fills a void and adds a big city experience with an environment that makes any occasion memorable."

For more information, follow Stella Van Buren on Facebook.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.