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A 44-year-old business that many regarded as a dining institution, Dave’s Italian Kitchen, closed Monday in Evanston.

The shutdown came without warning and occurred on the very day when owners Dave and Ellen Glatt were to have received keys to the city from Mayor Elizabeht Tisdahl for their work providing free meals for the disadvantaged.

A frequent patron of the restaurant said he found out about the closure when he ran into one of the restaurant’s waitresses late Monday afternoon who said employees only learned of the shutdown when they showed up for work at 1635 Chicago Ave. and found a sign on the door saying the business was closed.

By late Monday evening there was no sign on the door, but the restaurant’s website had been updated with a message saying “We’re closed forever.”

At the City Council meeting, Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, recalled that the restaurant had begun in a building in the 500 block of Davis Street “next to the Pure gas station.”

The restaurant website says Dave’s actually had two locations in the 1970s on that block — both, along with the gas station, now replaced by the 500 Davis office tower.

It then had a long run at 906 Church St., before that building was demolished to make way for the Church Street Plaza development.

After receiving financial assistance from the city for the move, Dave’s relocated to the basement spot on Chicago Avenue familiar to patrons today.

That building was sold to the owners of The Merion retirement community in 2013.

Some premonition that the Glatt’s were about to call it a career might have been gleaned from their decision last October not to renew the restaurant’s city liquor license — although at the time City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said the decision to go “BYOB” was not a sign the business was about to close.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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13 Comments

  1. So sad

    I will miss Dave's forever, I've been eating there since my NU grad school days in 1975-76, at all those locations you mention (the second on Davis was a more upscale place called Three Doors Down or something close to that, as I recall).  When we started the 2nd Act Players in 2013, Dave was there for us, sponsoring us every year since 2013, feeding us on our tech nights. 

    When my daughter picked a place for her confirmation dinner, it had to be Dave's. And when my mother moved here fron New York after 9/11, she wanted to go to Dave's, remembering how she loved it years before while here for my NU graduation. An Evanston legend is gone.

    1. Echoing remarks

      I would agree.  Dave's has been an Evanston establishment since my childhood in the 80s and then, in the early 2000s when my husband and I started dating.  Even after my son's first piano recital, Dave's was a natural pick for us to plan large family dinners where we could count on an affordable and delicious meal for all.  You will be greatly missed!!

  2. Dave’s closes

    seems odd Dave closes the same he's to receive keys to the city—and how is it there was someone from the Evanston youth and adult program at the meeting to accept the keys for him?—that seems odd too—so be it..maybe Dave will duldge the details of this surprising decision sometime—its his call…in the meantime I spent more than my fair share of dough at Dave's dating back to when he first opened on Davis between Chicago and Hinman…Dave's will be sorely missed—saluti! 

  3. Alderman Fiske has it wrong.
    Alderman Fiske has it wrong.
    It was Davis Hinman Standard, not Pure Oil.
    Pure Oil was the one on Dempster that later became the original Cottage Jewelery.
    Dave’s original location was at 512 Davis in 1972.
    He then moved in `75 into the former Pancake Francais space at 506-508 Davis, and opened another restaurant called 3 Doors Down in the 512 space.
    They moved to 906 Church in 1978, and from there to the Chicago Avenue space in 2000.

    1. I am in shock

      had I known the Pizza I ordered this past Friday night was my last….I would have ordered all of my favorites. My family has been enjoying Dave's since the day he opened his first place on the 500 block of Davis Street, I truly think we were one of Dave's first customers.

    2. Pure Oil Station at Davis & Hinman built in 1935

      The station at Davis & Hinman was built as a Pure Oil Station in 1935 with underground parking for 110 cars (see link below from the March 17, 1935 Chicago Tribune). At the historical society, there's a great old photograph of the site with the round Pure Oil sign.

      http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1935/03/17/page/76/article/work-starts-on-ambitious-evanston-business-project#text

      Using Tudor Revival designs, Pure Oil stations were intended to fit in well with surrounding residential neighborhoods. There were several in Evanston, including another at Lake & Sherman.

      1. I stand corrected about Davis
        I stand corrected about Davis Hinman Standard.
        Somewhere I have a photo of the Pure Oil on Dempster that became Cottage Jewelry.
        The station at Lake & Sherman was built as a Bell Fuels I was told, followed by a Cities Service/Citgo owned by Leroy.
        I worked for Steve who took it over from Leroy and made it a Texaco in 1975.
        The property was owned by John Grevas, who owned several stations around Evanston.
        Steve was purchasing it, but then moved out of Evanston and opened a shop in Phoenix.

    3. Pure-ly speaking

      Your e-town history is good and interesting David—but alderman Fiske is right—it was a Pure Oil station—not only was it my family's gas station, my aunt worked there—I think it's possible the final years saw it become a Union 76—I have a vague memory of the family car having an orange 76 ball on the antenna—bummer it was torn down—the Pure Oil cottage style stations were very cool

       

  4. Council Decisions and Dave’s—and others

    This makes me think of the moves Dave's and other had to make because of Evanston Planning–and Council and Boards involved.  As I recall the city made Dave's move from Davis because there was a development to go in there.  But it was at least a couple of years before that building was started.

    Dave's moved to Church Street and some years later the city decided he would have to move [along with Pine Yard] because of another development—which again did not come for years. In the mean time the city had to make payments to Dave's for parking expenses.

    Some may recall in the late  70s or early 80s the city told businesses at Chicago and Kedzie that a developjment was to go in there. Some of the businesses took the city's threat seriously [always a big mistake] and had to move.  Look how many years before anything did happen.

    Recall the grocery, laundry, Karata studio, uppolster and I think drug store at Custer and Sewart ? The city forced them out for a development.  Only the development apartments or condos did not occur for at least another 5-10+ years.

    The city keeps projecting things will happen but then hopes voters and potential businesses will forget. How many more  'projects' like this has the Council taken that caused business to move or not even consiider Evanston ? It is a mistake to take the Council at their word.

  5. 500 Davis

    For what it's worth: the 1957 Evanston phone book includes an advertisement for the Pure Oil Service Station "LOCATED IN DOWNTOWN EVANSTON AT DAVIS AND HINMAN" …just sayin…. Stu Opdycke (resident oldtimer)

  6. Daves

    I couldn't be more sad about the closing of Dave's Italian Kitchen. This comes as a complete shock I'm sure to everyone that enjoyed going there so much.  I made sure that this was the restaurant I went to for my birthday for the past….. I can't remember years!!  Sorry that it will be gone. Good food will be missed!

  7. Thanks for the memories, Dave!
    I can’t believe it. I’m really going to miss the excellent pizza and salads. My family was just there last Saturday night. It’s sad that it was our last time. I still have the leftover pizza in my fridge. Maybe I’ll keep the box as a memento. 🙂

    Thanks for the memories, Dave!

  8. Dave’s

    My family grew up eating Dave's pizza. The only pizza worth ordering in Evanston in my humble opinion and I grew up eating pizza in Brooklyn. Dave always made our pizzas exactly the way we wanted. I'm going to miss him and his place a lot. Barb too.

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