Customers arriving at the Kentucky Fried Chicken at Dempster Street and Dodge Avenue in Evanston this noon discovered they needed to make different lunch-time plans after the restaurant closed abruptly Tuesday.

Customers arriving at the Kentucky Fried Chicken at Dempster Street and Dodge Avenue in Evanston this noon discovered they needed to make different lunch-time plans after the restaurant closed abruptly Tuesday.

Evanston’s Community and Economic Development Director Steve Griffin says the city had no warning or advance word about the closing and that city officials are checking with KFC’s corporate headquarters today to try to get more information.

He said preliminary indications are that low sales were the reason for the shutdown.

At this point, he said, city officials aren’t even sure whether the restaurant was owned by KFC or by a franchisee.

A sign in the store’s window encourages would-be customers to visit a KFC in Morton Grove.

Across the street, at the bank-owned Evanston Plaza Shopping Center, Griffin says the city is working with potential purchasers of the property in anticipation that Bank of America will put the property up for sale soon.

But when city officials last contacted the bank, Griffin said, they were told that there still are issues regarding the foreclosure that have to be settled by the courts before a sale can take place.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Hard to believe

    I've only been their once during a school day but it was packed.  Other days it seemed to have more than enough dine-in and drive-in business.   In less than 30 yaars the KFC in Wilmette, Chicago Ave. and Dempster and  two on Howard closed.  Also a Browns on Dempster and Dodge and on Central closed.  While both have cut stores everywhere, it seems to say something about Evanston. 

  2. Losing business is bad, but …

    Vacant buildings and businesses closing is indicative of a dying district.  One problem with the whole Dempster/Dodge corridor is that there is nothing "unique" or appealing there.

    You can call the place "West Village," or DeDo or whatever, but the main thing that the area needs is some care in design.  

    Essentially the city should be looking to make Dempster/Dodge function more like Dempster/Chicago: an area with multi use, good pedestrian amenities and multi-modal transporatation options.

    Right now, the place is dreadful for walking because of the enormous building set-backs and curb-cuts along with no trees.  You can't bike on Dempster because of lack of infrastructure.  So what you get is basically a replication of traditional suburban sprawl.

    1. The neighborhood does have an

      The neighborhood does have an appealing area, the Florence/Crain/Greenleaf enclave of small businesses, but unfortunately they are (don't jump on me for this) relatively hidden. And while there is parking, it is neighborhood street parking which doesn't appeal to everyone. The desolation of the D/D intersection would be drastically improved if these businesses set up shop there, but I am sure they love the buildings they are in right now and the neighborhood-feel of them. Sadly, it may be one of the only ways the citizenry can actually try to have a positive effect on the area, but not being one of the business owners I won't comment further on it.

      Winning over just one major retailer won't work, I don't think. We had a discount retailer until about a year ago, which you'd think would have seen plenty of success, but apparently it did not see enough. People who have lived here much longer than I have can remember the plaza having a lot more tenants than it has now. I think your thoughts are really spot on about this, it needs to have a real appeal to it that makes people want to stick around and not drive in, shop, and fly out as fast as they can.

      "At this point, he said, city officials aren't even sure whether the restaurant was owned by KFC or by a franchisee."

      Bill, who did you talk to? Hopefully it wasn't the people we pay to make sure our communities are alive and kicking (e.g. Economic Development). If they don't even have a basic understanding of the ownership of the business there I think that paints a pretty bleak and pathetic picture of their real commitment and grasp of the task.

  3. Economic Development team?

    An economic development team should be broken up in districts (if its not already). The district team should know every store head manager, regional manager, the business hours etc. How do they not know if a store is a franchise or not.

  4. Dempster Dodge Area

    Well, one thing for sure.  This entire area is not appealing.  I agree, this area need to have an urban and suburban re design.  I think if we design this area around an old town or uptown concept, the area would start to flourish.  The Dempster Dodge area has lots of parking, and could potentially be a very nice functional area.  Those of you who have been around a while, remember main street  area by the canal.

    We definitely need some focus on this area and not just pennies.  I would love to see a state of the art multi culture center there.///with rental office space, state of the art technology wi-fi, study centers, coffee shops, meeting rooms and events. An art center (multi cultural).  Another great thing would be a place for early learning.

    It would really need to be promoted and the marketing would have to be 1st class.  Very colorful to welcome all cultures.  Maybe flags in the middle representing the makeup of Evanston.  How about some nice outside sculptures.  The art center could display new and upcoming artist.  Different ethnic stores…shuttle for eating and transportation to the airport and hotels.

    a very nice piece of property just under ultilized.  The current rental is too high.

    We could start a contest for a name, by votes.  Thanks.

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