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The Phoenix Inn at 608 Davis St. in Evanston has closed for the second time in a decade.

The long-time home to traditional Cantonese dishes was shuttered for nearly two years after a late-night electrical fire on Sept. 14, 2008, but, true to its name, it did come back after that setback.

Efforts to reach the owners to learn whether the latest closing is temporary or permanent were unsuccessful.

Davis Street has seen several new Asian food spots open in recent months — the latest being Peppercorns Kitchen and Table to Stix — with another, LuLu’s, scheduled to re-open shortly.

And there may be changes in the works for the local outpost of the burger chain Five Guys, at 816 Church St.

It is still operating. But a new real estate listing seeks a new tenant for the restaurant space, which is in a two-story building owned by the owners of the Behles & Behles architectural firm that has its offices on the second floor.

Five Guys won approval for its special use permit for a carry-out restaurant back in 2010.

The burger business has also become more competitive downtown recently — with Epic Burger opening around the corner from Five Guys on Sherman Avenue in January and  Red Robin opening in March a block west at Maple Avenue and Church Street.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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13 Comments

  1. Changes

    Seems like there has been extroidinary churn in the restuarant business downtown in the last year, but is that actually true or just my perception?

    1. I agree

      Its does seem we saw a lot of resturants go this past year or so. But we did get a number of new Burger and Pizza places

    2. Davis Street no longer age nor local residents friendly

      It appears to me that this area of Evanston is now more focused on NU culture and its  students-visitors. I avoid the Davis Street except for an occassional movie at Cinemark Theaters.

      Suspect in time Davis Street and some of South Evanston will become NU Manhattan with little regard for local long term residents' interests and access to leisure time activities…

      1. Family, full service menu restaurants
        I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but the non-specialty restaurants I think of in downtown are Golden Olympia [one I always think of when I go out with people who I don’t know what they like, but food I like] and FarmHouse [I’ve not been there]. Sherman Cafe [much like Golden Olympia] was another.
        By specialty restaurants I’d include Chinese, Mexican [I can only think of one], pizza, Le Peep. Of course tons of hamburger and other fast food.
        I have to agree with a poster and people I talk to, Cajan Kitchen had its own niche—if the owner did not know that style, he sure faked it well for years—very odd conversion to have made.

        1. Mexican restaurants

          Here are three lists of Mexican restaurants in Evanston — from Zomato, Yelp and Trip Advisor. They don't include Taco Diablo, which is about to re-open.

          — Bill

      2. What?

        John, Joy Yee, Todoroki, Boltwood, Koi, Olive Mountain, Taco Diablo, Whiskey Thief, Peppercorn are all great. What kind of leisure time activities are you seeking?

        1. I secnd that Stan

          I second your sentiments Stan. John Barfield, what are you talking about? (davis street not age or local friendly). Tons of restaurants anywhere from fast food (chipotle) to fine dining (whiskey thief)….. several gyms…grocery stores…fountain square has tons of events such as let's dance, art fest, treel lighting, etc…outdoor music…book stores both local and chains…coffe shops….breweries…i could go on and on. You can walk around downtown evanston and shop, run errands, work out, go the beach, relax, work, whatever. It is not exclusive to 20 somethings or teens. I see a lot of professionals and older crowd enjoying downtown evanston.

          1. downtown Evanston
            My friends and I don’t go anywhere where parking is a problem, or you have to pay for parking……that’s why Old Orchard and Northbrook Court are SO nice……AND it’s so annoying to see the scofflaws double parked, parked in handicapped spaces, etc. in Evanston……there are no special stores to attract, either. IMO

          2. This type of thinking is outdated

            Your and your friends' desire for large visible surface lot parking is outdated and no longer viable in the marketplace. Traditional malls around the country are closing or rebranding themselves as "lifestyle centers" due to market pressure. No one wants to go out on a Saturday night to a strip mall. I am glad that Evanston is well positioned to take advantage of this shift in consumer preference. Northbrook Court is only getting by due to relatively high incomes in the area, though it too will soon need to rebrand as brick and mortar stores continue to close. Old Orchard is also surrounded by a dense, higher income population, is outdoors, and has always been a bit more of a destination. 

          3. Malls
            I don’t consider Old Orchard a strip mall…nor would we ever want to spend an evening in one. OO has a lot to offer……so does downtown Wilmette, for that matter….lots to do…free parking…..and interesting stores…..same with downtown Highland Park……

          4. parking

            yes parking can be difficult sometimes. some of the streets used to be free parking but unfortunately people would ditch their cars all day and hop on the train. residents living in dt evanston and ppl working there were complaining so now there's more metered parking, permit parking, etc.  guess it's a good problem to have! think it means people are actualy moving to dt evanston. there are several parking garages and the city every once in awhile has free parking in garages to entice customers. i also can't find anywhere else where you can park free on sundays. overall parking is kind of yin & yang. they want it to be a walkable downtown area where you won't feel the need to drive. i think if you live in the area it's not inconvenient but if you're not from evanston and have to drive yeah it's not easy.

          5. Free parking?

            The only time parking is free at a mall like Old Orchard is if you drive in, walk around, buy nothing, then drive away.  Malls do not have special little parking fairies that purchase the land, maintain & repair the lots and pay the r.e. taxes on that land.  Instead malls pass that expense onto their tenants, who then pass it directly onto you, the customer.  Dollar for spent dollar you are paying much higher parking rates at Old Orchard than in downtown Evanston.  One cost is simply buried in the price paid and isn't transparent.  Parking is never free, anywhere, ever, very naive to think otherwise.    

      3. The only reason for this is
        The only reason for this is because that’s where the money is. Believe me, if there was more demand from local residents the industry would respond.

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