The Maxwell Style Grill — the hot dog and burger spot with the ketchup and mustard color scheme that took over the old Dairy Queen on Howard Street in Evanston — has closed.

The business, named after the old Maxwell Street Market in Chicago, shuttered recently, less than five months after it opened late in March.

Alderman Ann Rainey, whose 8th Ward includes the site, said on her message board today that she believed the business was “terribly undercapitalized.”

She added, “There are more than enough customers to handle a good fast food restaurant on Howard Street. The day it closed there were 12 of us in the parking lot waiting for them to open.”

Rainey said, “Some people thought the food was OK others thought it was terrible.”

Rainey said there’ve already been several inquiries about a new restaurant at the site.

Related stories

Maxwell Style Grill opening on Howard (3/24/16)

New restaurant planned for Howard Dairy Queen (7/16/15)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Maxwell street on Howard

    i patronized this business when it opened.  I was not at all impressed with the food.  The place was nice, the owner friendly enough, but seriously, you have to be able to make it longer than 5 months!!!  The place sat empty for years.  People found other places to eat and some didn't even know it was open again.  And if I dare, as far as the Alderman showing up with 12 people for lunch, in my opinion, too late.  Local government did NOTHING and continues to do NOTHING to help small businesses.  The alderman is out of touch if she thinks there are rplenty of people looking for a sandwich on Howard Street.  The people hanging out on Howard street cannot afford an 8 dollar lunch.  And the people who can are not hanging out on Howard street.  Please spend some time cleaning up Howard street so a small business can survive.  

    1. Maxwell Street on Howard
      I strongly agree with all of Ms Swanson’s points. Evanston seems to be out of touch with the real world. Many aldermen appear to ascribe to the ‘hope and pray’ form of governance…as well as occasional extravagant exaggeration.

      The food was not very good; I was so hopeful for the Maxwell style food I remember from years ago….guess Portillo’s will just have to do for now.

      1. Hope and pray?

        Hi Eleanor,

        Unless you believe the city should subsidize new restaurants financially — an occasional practice that has come in for widespread criticism — what do you think the city is supposed to do about new businesses — other than "hope and pray" they succeed? (Maxwell Style did not get financial aid from the city, BTW.)

        The city Health Department is charged with trying to insure food safety — but it's not their job to make sure the stuff tastes good or is a good value for the money.

        Now it did take at least from August 2015 through January 2016 to get the approvals for the new restaurant through the city's processes — but it's unclear how much of the delay was caused by the city, and how much by the developer.

        — Bill 

  2.  As an Evanston resident and

     As an Evanston resident and Lakeview small business owner for over 23 years, I took offense to your title of the Maxwell Street Grill closing, "Maxwell Style didn't become Evanston Style."  Whenever a small business fails it is a loss for the community as a whole.  Small businesses make up the fabric of our community.  Your title is haughty and condescending. Are Evanston folks above such a restaurant? Is Maxwell Street style food beneath the City of Evanston denizens?  My heart breaks when ever a small business closes.  People put their heart, soul and resources into them.  Whatever their reasons may be for closing, a more compassionate title would have been appropriate.  Thanks for listening.  Jay

    1. Style

      Hi Jay,

      The business failed. Many people say it was because the food wasn't very good. Evanston is an eclectic place that is home to many different food styles, which when done well, frequently succeed.

      I don't see anything offensive about saying this restaurant's style didn't succeed here.

      — Bill

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