Bennison’s is taking on a new role. Or maybe, make that a new roll.

Owners of the iconic Evanston bakery, a fixture downtown since 1938, plan to open a bakery/cafe on Central Avenue in Wilmette.

The Evanston Bennison’s at Davis & Maple is not moving or changing. Bennison’s co-owner Jordana Downer said “it felt right” to try something a bit different and “modernize,” and Wilmette had an empty building (the former Lads & Lassie’s boutique) which could fit a take-out bakery on one side, and a sit-down restaurant for 40 on the other.

The cafe will be named EvaDean’s, in honor of Jordana Downer’s grandmother. Downer’s grandparents bought Bennison’s from founder Larry Bennison in the late 1960s.

The idea is for EvaDean’s Bakery & Cafe to also have a liquor license, for indoor service, and the chance for customers to take their food and drinks onto a patio in Veteran’s Park, a tiny pocket park next door.

Everything seemed to be going smoothly until Monday, when, according to The Record North Shore, Village Trustee Dan Sullivan objected to a liquor license for the park.

While the park license was not specifically up for a vote yet, Sullivan’s objection has put a hitch in the plans which Downer hopes can be worked out.

“We’re not going to be a bar, ” she told Evanston Now.

“We want to be a breakfast and lunch restaurant that serves Bloody Mary’s and mimosas.”

There is no intent to be open for dinner nor in the evenings.

Assuming everything is ironed out, the hope is to have EvaDean’s open in July.

“We’re just looking for a place that when somebody goes there, they want to go back,” Downer added.

Kind of sounds like Bennison’s, no?

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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