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Short in stature, tall in spirit

If you have lived in Milwaukee for more than three weeks, chances are you have heard of, or run into, Steve Vento. He is a local legend. For a year, Steve worked at Nacho Mama's. A short person, he schmoozed the customers and walked around wearing a hat with chips in it. It didn't take long for the media to move in.

Recently, Steve began working at Have a Nice Day Café, a brand new nightclub located at 1101 N. Old World Third St. (wait until you read what he does there). sat down with Steve to chat about fame, dipping chips, pimps, his son and more ...

OMC: When did you start working at Have a Nice Day Cafe?

SV: I started working there three weeks ago. They started out eight years ago and now they have 50 locations (of four different concepts) throughout the country. Milwaukee is the newest one. They found me through all the advertisements from Nacho Mama's, and they approached me. They said that they heard I had quite an impact in Milwaukee and were interested in hiring me. And I love that place.

OMC: What's so great about Have a Nice Day Café?

SV: It's a 70's disco, which is perfect for my age (41). Everything is '70s. Even the dance floor is like "Saturday Night Fever." All '70s memorabilia on the wall. I'm the house pimp. I dress up as a '70s pimp. It's a blast, and it's probably the hottest party place in Milwaukee right now and we've only been open three weeks. All our staff dresses in the '70s. It's just a great, fun place.

OMC: So it's a nightclub?

SV: It's a nightclub. We're only open Wednesday through Saturday. Wednesday night we always have some type of promotion. Thursday is ladies' night. We open at 8 p.m. and stay open until bar time. From the time we open the doors until the time we close it is wall to wall people. It's varied in age as well. We get them 21 and 22 all the way up to my age and 60 and over.

OMC: What exactly do you do there?

SV: My job is to make sure everybody has fun. My job is doing what I am doing now. Getting the advertisements. Pumping the place up. I want to make sure that everyone walking out that door had the time of their life. I pour upside down shots and dance with the ladies. I get on the bar and dance. It's no holds barred there and you can do anything you want. I would advise everybody to come there.

OMC: Are you still working at Nacho Mama's?

Steve: No. I haven't been working at Nacho Mama's since last November.

OMC: Did you part on friendly terms?

SV: Very friendly terms. We had a one-year contract.

OMC: How did you get the job?

SV: I heard an advertisement on the radio. They were looking for short people. I called the radio station to get the telephone number of the owner. I called him up and we met for lunch. Twenty minutes later we were sitting down and negotiating the contract.

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