The Italian restaurant Bravo! that has anchored the northeast corner of Church Street and Maple Avenue in downtown Evanston for the past several years is closing.

Manager James Rohrbach says the restaurant’s last day of operation with be this Thursday, Oct. 22.

Rohrbach said he doesn’t know what the plans are for the future of the space, that the closing was a corporate decision.

The Bravo Brio Restaurant Group operates 115 restaurants under the Bravo, Brio and Bon Vie brand names in 33 states. A person who answered the phone at the corporate office in Columbus, Ohio, this morning claimed to have no knowledge of the Evanston restaurant’s closing.

BBRG’s latest quarterly earnings report showed a 5.5 percent increase in total revenue, but a 2.1 percent decline in comparable sales for its Bravo! units.

The restaurant space adjacent to the Century Theatre complex previously was a Wolfgang Puck restaurant before Bravo! opened in 2008.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Is Chili’s next?

    I heard they were thinking of leaving too.  Maple Ave is going to look like a ghost town very, very soon.

    1. “Re-think” the space.

      They should turn the space into a high end food court. The area is ideally positioned for this with the downtown offices, Century Theatre along with the arrival of Northlight… 


      1. Food Court Downtown
        Five to ten (?) years ago there was news that a food court was planned for the front half [south side] of the Chase Bank building. The article was very vague but it sounded like additional portions of the land in the plaza would also be converted [rebuilt] for the food court. I think this would have been a great idea but never seemed to have got off the ground.
        Admittedly I’m not sure I’ve seen another Chicago area town create a food court.
        The walkway from 205 N Michigan Ave, Chicago to Wacker and by the Hyatt has a form of this. The Union and Ogilvie Transportation Center are great for having a large selection under one roof. Evanston at best would probably only have a fraction of the selections.
        And the way everything is fought in Evanston, would have zero chance of being approved.

  2. Bye to Bravo
    Not great news any time a local and established business decides it is closing its doors. In this case, however, I won’t miss them. The food there was salty, mediocre at best in terms of quality and taste and the service was average. I am sure there will be some sad regulars, but I am not one of them. Since it’s a healthy economy, we can look forward to another establishment opening its doors to patrons soon.

  3. Hopefully the $25,000 they

    Hopefully the $25,000 they received from the City of Evanston a few years ago for the awning & facade improvements has been fully amortized…..

    1. Bravo’s facade

      Johanna Leonard, the city's economic development director, says that while the city approved $25K for Bravo's facade improvements, the restaurant never submitted a request for reimbursement for the work and the city never paid for it.

      — Bill

      1. Bravo’s location
        Seems to me that the space is too large to be a feasible option for restaurants, considering pedestrian traffic. After all, that location relies heavily on movie goers, as there are plenty of other food establishments in the area, closer to retail, library, pharmacy, etc. Even Chilli’s is in a better location, because it is on the direct route to the parking garage from the theaters. Probably the corner space needs to be subdivided to attract other merchants.

  4. Hopes that an oldey but goody will return
    I know there will be many snide comments but I hope McDonalds will return to downtown Evanston after having been so unceremoniously kicked-out of the Orrington Hotel building [where Farmhouse is now].
    Esp. with the new breakfast at all hours they would do great business and bring in a lot of tax revenue—certainly many multiples of all the short-lived restaurants and other stores.
    Of course those who like to complain about McDonalds, don’t have to eat there—just don’t stop the [very large number] of the rest of us.

  5. Golden opportunity

    This would be a great location for a Hillstone restaurant.  Maybe even a Carrabba's, Macaroni Grill or a Smokey Bones.    The food at Bravo was inconsistent, salty and not very good.  I wish them well.  To the person who would like McDonald's at this location, isn't 14,000 restaurants enough?

  6. The Cost Of Closing

    It doesn't seem the City Mgr. is doing a good job of keeping businesses from making a mass exodus.The facade of Downtown keeps changing like the hands on a clock. The ever increasing cost to do business in Evanston , let alone the State of Illinois. seems to have businesses looking for alternatives or just closing all together. At this pace we'll do what Scott Walker has done to The State of Wisconsin.

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