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Long-time Evanston restaurant to close next month

Prairie Joe's owner says he needs more family time.

A window at Prairie Joe's on Central Street.

Prairie Joe’s, a fixture in the Central Street business district for 30 years, will shut its doors towards the end of October.

Aydin Dincer, owner of the colorful breakfast and lunch eatery at Central and Prairie, announced the closing in a Facebook post. The last day of operation has not been set.

“I have agonized over this for months, but the decision is crystal clear,” Dincer said.

The need for more family time, with his wife Diane and his 98-year old father, are the major reasons for the closing, Dincer added.

Dincer’s daughter, Yasmin Dincer-Ubl, told Evanston Now that “30 years is a long time.”

Dincer-Ubl, who also works at Prairie Joe’s, said, “The regulars are saying how much they’re going to miss us.” She also said that unlike other restaurants that have closed because of the COVID pandemic, the impact of the coronavirus on business is not a reason for the shutdown.

An example of Dincer’s artwork at the restaurant.

Besides running a restaurant, owner Dincer is also an artist, whose work was shown and sold at Prairie Joe’s.

He said he hopes to “dabble in a less demanding venture” in the same general area, focusing on “soups, art, and casseroles.”

“Trends and fads come and go,” he said. “I was able to offer my customers a place of comfort, familiarity and continuity.”

Prairie Joe’s slogan was “Real people, real food, real art.”

It’s coming to an end, real soon.

Jeff Hirsh

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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