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Italian mom’s recipes come to Evanston

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Though it’s been open since October, the “grand” opening of La Macchina Café, at 1620 Orrington Ave., took place Wednesday afternoon, with a celebration of authentic Italian specialties like Marco’s mom used to make.

Marco is co-owner Marco Ferrarini, a native Italian and long-time friend of co-owner Christopher Casas, who built most of the restaurant’s furnishings by hand from material scavenged from the Illinois and Wisconsin countryside.

Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl handles ribbon-cutting honors with Ferrarini and Casas, assisted by Evanston Chamber of Commerce executive director Elaine Kemna-Irish.

“We’re trying to be as authentic an Italian experience as we can by bringing our own meats, cheeses, and wines over from Italy and Europe,” Casas said.

“As much as we can do in house, we’re going to do.” For other items, he says the eatery is “big on dealing local and knowing where our food comes from.”

Mayor Tisdahl chats with owners Ferrarini and Casas before the festivities begin

But the coffee served is Coffee Speed Shop Coffee, a high-quality bean that is roasted right here in Evanston.

As for the décor, Casas says “we’ve worked hard with the custom-built 100-year-old barn wood tables and benches and our collection of industrial machinery and antiques, to create a unique, comfortable atmosphere.

One of the motorcycles that add a special flair to the decor

Especially eye-catching are the mounted motorcycles that are imported from Italy and are actually for sale at the right price.

Since it’s been open, the owners have noticed a lot of their customers are residents of the many high-rises located in and around Evanston’s downtown who pop in even when the weather is rainy or snowy.

The restaurant is open daily for coffee, lunch, and dinner and weekends for brunch, dinner, and late-night eats.

Charles Bartling

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio stations and business-oriented magazines.

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