This article appeared in the New York Times, written by Ari Bendersky, 08.31.15
The urban suburb north of Chicago has a downtown area that is picking up steam with the recent openings of farm-to-table restaurants and world-class distilleries and breweries.
Evanston, the urban suburb north of Chicago, has added more hustle of late. The city, home to Northwestern University, has a downtown area that is picking up steam with the recent openings of farm-to-table restaurants, world-class distilleries and breweries, galleries and hip music venues, all within a stone’s throw of restored mansions overlooking Lake Michigan. Within the last year, acclaimed Chicago restaurateurs have also opened establishments, including Boltwood, from the James Beard semifinalist Brian Huston, and the craft beer-and-sausage spot Bangers & Lace, among others, giving residents even more reasons to stay close to home.
Found Kitchen and Social House
Designed like a preserved belle epoque-era home with salvaged furniture, sepia-tone photographs, found art and walls painted blood red, Amy Morton’s restaurant brought farm-to-table dining to Evanston in 2012. The ever-changing seasonal rustic American menu reflects the Midwestern roots and French training of its celebrated chef, Nicole Pederson.
1631 Chicago Avenue; 847-868-8945; foundkitchen.com
This four-year-old craft distiller is acclaimed for its whiskey barrel-aged gin and rye whiskey. Sign up for a tour (Thursdays and Saturdays). The tasting room is down a short alley.
918 Chicago Avenue; 847-920-8628; fewspirits.com
Start your night up front in this buzzy spot, tearing into wood-fired pizzas topped with meats and cheeses from local farms, mussels in saffron and Pernod, various shared plates and glasses of Sangiovese. Then head to Space in the back of the building for a live set of jazz, folk or rock from the likes of the English Beat, Blind Boys of Alabama or Bob Mould.
1245 Chicago Ave; 847-475-2400 (Union) and 847-492-8860 (Space); unionevanston.com and evanstonspace.com
Gluten is put on a pedestal at this bakery, which opened in 2013. Following a centuries-old bread-making tradition, the head baker and co-owner Ellen King infuses her recipes with organic local ingredients like English pale ale from the nearby brewer Temperance Beer Co. Rustic baguettes, Cheddar country and caramelized onion rye loaves ferment for about 20 hours before baking. The breads are displayed alongside sweet and savory pastries in the quaint storefront built from salvaged materials.
810 Dempster Street; 847-869-4396; hewnbread.com
Smylie Brothers Brewing Co.
Barbecue and craft brews come together at this year-old brew pub that evokes a Colorado mountain lodge, with plenty of wood, exposed beams, stone — and even a wood-burning pizza oven. The brewhouse, set behind floor-to-ceiling windows in full view of the dining room, produces everything from IPAs to American porters.
1615 Oak Avenue; 224-999-7320; smyliebros.com
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