The owners of a proposed restaurant and brewery on Howard Street are expected to come before Evanston aldermen Monday, seeking a $200,000 grant and a lease for city-owned property.
Debbie and Jamie Evans, former managers and partners at the Celtic Knot, hope to open a microbrewery at 623-627 ½ Howard St. called Peckish One, according to city documents. The name plays off the British term “peckish,” meaning “somewhat hungry.”
They hope to enter into a lease-to-own agreement with the city, which purchased the space and two others on Howard Street in February 2011 using tax-increment financing (TIF) dollars from the Howard/Ridge TIF district. A cocktail bar called Ward Eight opened in December at one of the other properties, 629 Howard St., while Ald. Ann Rainey has pressed city council members to consider a $1.7 million grant for a Chicago theater at the other property, 727-9 Howard St.
In contrast to the $1.7 million grant proposed for the theater, the owners of Peckish One are seeking a $200,000 in TIF funds to assist with the initial rehabilitation of the space, including plumbing and electrical work, according to city documents. The owners are also seeking a lease-to-own agreement with the city for the property, which calls for no rent due for the first 18 months and rents to gradually increase after that over a period of five years.
The proposed deal for Peckish One is similar to the incentives that city officials granted Ward Eight, whose owners also entered into a lease-to-own agreement with the city. Council members approved up to $100,000 in tax increment financing for improvements to the building where Ward Eight is located, and the city also agreed to loan Ward Eight $130,000 toward setup costs as part of a Community Development Block Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
If aldermen approve the grant and lease-to-own agreement for Peckish One, the owners say they’re expecting to open in late fall or early winter of 2013, according to city documents. They anticipate hiring approximately 30 full-time staff members, and say they’ll work with the city to hire mostly Evanston residents.
According to their business plan, Debbie and Jamie Evans plan to serve craft beers brewed on site, cocktails and organic farm-to-table foods. They also hope to bring in live music.
“We are very excited to be a part of this project that can bring a buzz to this underserved area, bringing great, affordable food and drink and creating a new meeting place,” they write in their business plan. “Having lived in Evanston and worked in local restaurants since 1997, we are confident that we can bring exactly what is needed to this demographic, and that the timing and location for this project are perfect.”
Sample menu items include tuna wellington with honey sesame dressing, smoked cheddar mac and cheese with duck confit and kimchi potato cakes with plum sauce.