Hungry for something new? Evanston's restaurant scene has gotten a boost with the recent openings of a family-friendly all-day spot, a Korean restaurant and a Haitian bakery.
Downtown, JT's Bar & Grill opened in October at 1639 Orrington Ave., a space that has been vacant for years since the closing of Omaggio. Owner Sherrie Vidinich lives in Chicago but is looking into moving to Evanston.
“We love Evanston," she said. "I grew up in Rogers Park so we used to venture here all the time as teenagers.”
Her restaurant, which is open from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. daily, serves American fare with a splash of Mexican in the form of burritos and tacos. The space has about 15 TVs to show sports, with meeting rooms set up with their own sets. Vidinich said the crowds have been getting better every day since they've been open.
“Our lunch business is doing very well, and we’re hoping that with the liquor license dinner will pick up," she said. "I feel like it’s really a family place with a little bit of a sports bar feel at night. We have a little bit for everybody.”
Wilmette resident Dong Suh opened Koco Table in JK Sweets' former space at 720 Clark St. last month, serving Korean barbecue and other traditional fare like bulgogi and bibimbap. While the space's former tenants also served Korean food, Suh said his restaurant is better.
“I feel like it was not good quality," he said. "That’s why I took over and made high quality Korean food.”
Meanwhile, on Howard Street, Ernst Medard has realized his dream of more than 30 years--opening a bakery that would serve the Haitian pastries he craved.
"It's something that I had in mind to do since 1978 because we didn’t have any Haitian bakery at that time," he said. "I think that’s a good thing to do, but I was scared to do it because I didn’t want to leave my job if it didn’t work.”
When the Evanston resident retired two years ago from his job as a truck driver, he decided to take his chances. Partnering with baker and caterer Gussie Augustin, Medard opened Leonie's Delice Bakery at 607 Howard St. in May. The spot serves up traditional Haitian and Jamaican fare, including meat-filled pastries, bread pudding, rock cake and gingerbread cookies made with fresh ginger, some of them made with recipes from Medard's mother.
Know about other new local restaurants? Tell us about them in the comments section.