Evanston’s complicated relationship with booze took another turn Thursday when the mayor tried to persuade the owner of a proposed bar to install a kitchen.

Evanston’s complicated relationship with booze took another turn Thursday when the mayor tried to persuade the owner of a proposed bar to install a kitchen.

TribLocal reports that Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl asked Ted Mavrakis, who wants to bring a World of Beer franchise to the Fountain Square Building he owns downtown, to see whether the chain would consider installing a kitchen in the planned Evanston location.

She said she’d read an article saying the company has considered doing that elsewhere.

Since Evanston ended its more than a century as a dry town in the 1970s, the city has required that any establishment serving liquor also provide a kitchen that serves food, presumably on the theory that drinkers who are also eating are less likely to get quite so drunk.

The World of Beer concept stretches that model by allowing patrons to order in food from other restaurants, but not providing food service itself.

Last month aldermen suggested that seemed to stretch existing city rules too far, and they’d rather have the mayor, who also serves as the city’s liquor commissioner, present an ordinance that would for the first time permit bars without food service to open in the community.

Related stories

Mayor balks at creating new ‘tavern’ liquor license (TribLocal)

World of Beer may topple long-time ban on bars

World of Beer stalled over lack of food

New bar concept proposed for rejected Tilted Kilt site

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Unreal.

    Ted Mavrakis should pack up and take his business to a city that will embrace his willingness to open a tax paying establishment.  As long as this Mayor is here she will make it difficult for him to do anything. 

    The next questions is, what will bitter negative commenters on this site have to say about this?  There are no girls in tight short skirts to get everyone up in arms.  The only thing holding this back is an archaic law, and a Mayor who stifles business.

    Come on everyone, get fired up about this.  We're always complaining that the city is broke.  There are not enough businesses here, and we can't have any more storefront churches because they don't pay taxes.  People go NUTS when an unnecessary library closes, but I bet nobody gets that riled up over this. This guy wants to open a forward thinking business in a supposed forward thinking town.  AND PAY TAXES THIS CITY DEPERATELY NEEDS. 


    1. With You

      I am in total agreement. 

      Everything you said is spot on.

      The law is archiac.

      The Mayor is fronting roadblocks for what reasons?  Help me out.

      Ted is an asset to this city, has been for years as the proprieter and owner of many businesses here in Evanston.

      He is attempting to bring in a legitimate business to Evanston.

      And, to think, the Keg is open as we speak pending review?  Figure that one out.

    2. I agree

      Even my hometown in West Michigan (where booze is the devil) is  allowing these type establishments!  Do the people in charge of this town ever make sense?  I didn't think so. 

    3. Common Sense

      @ Common Sense… 

      Too bad there is no "Like" button (as we find on Facebook)! 

      I wonder how many would agree with you on this one!  Thanks!  Brian G. Becharas


      1. Agree

        In total agreement wiht common sense's post and yes, Brian, I am for this business venture.  There should be no reason why the city blocks this, particularly an antiquated law.

  2. Archaic law

    I have seen other locations of this chain and they seem nice.  I think Evanston needs to focus on business growth and getting more people downtown.  The law preventing the approval as-is seems outdated. 

  3. Our Mayor Needs to Wake Up

    This is ridiculous. Ted Mavrakis wants to bring business to Evanston. Evanston is filled with adults capable of making their own decisions about drinking and whether they want food with their drinks. It is funny that she is concerned about all of the signs telling people what they can/cannot do when they enter Evanston. Yet, what is the mayor trying to do? Telling Mavrakis what he can or cannot do!!!

    If she is successful and she drives him away, she will also drive others away who want to start a business in Evanston. I have already decided that I will NOT have a business here, especially if the city is heavily focused on telling me no on things I want to do or how to run my business, in general.

    Mayor, he is selling beer. He is not the owner of a gentleman's club or a "massage" parlor. Underage children are not in sweat shops making clothes. Get over it. We are not in the early 1900s. People can have beer and not eat anything with it. Please can we please move away from this silly, antiquated, out-dated concept that permeates this city. Mayor, can you please spend your energy on something substantive – education challenges, employment challenges, crime issues, etc? I did not vote for you to scan the internet to see if World of Beer could have a kitchen or not. I voted for you to run the city and make sure the aforementioned areas are managed.

    If they are successful in driving Mavrakis away, then the next step to get more revenue will be to tax the crap out of their citizens. We are already paying incredibly high taxes. How much higher are you going to go Evanston? I guess I will be voting for a Republican mayor the next go round if this kind of silly nonsense continues.

  4. I agree

    Even my hometown back in West Michigan (where booze is the devil) is allowing these types of establishments!  Do the people in charge in of this city ever make sense?  I didn't think so.  Apparently Evanston kills capitalism.  This town stinks.  I would very much enjoy an IPA or Stout from a place like this.  I'll even allow another man to serve me!  Wait, that might be too homosexual to say in this town.  I will also allow a plain dressed woman to serve me.  I will let anyone serve me a beer!  Just give a drink!  I can't take it anymore!

  5. Ugh .. come ON!

    Dear Evanston,

    Why must you spoil everything?

    World Of Beer is a good business that will BRING PEOPLE INTO THE CITY! Evanston is a horrible horrible location to visit, which is why no-one does. Do you think Buffalo Wild Wings and Chilis brings people into Evanston? A place like World Of Beer is something that people will go out of their way to visit, and neighborhood restaurants will benefit as a result. There is no down-side, none, nothing.

    Please, I’m BEGGING you, stop bowing down to the Old Lady Mafia with their insanely archaic beliefs; and instead actually do something to improve the dying downtown area.

    It's really not that difficult: lift the ordinence, and let them in.

    1. Like we REALLY need another bar



      It sounds like the only businesses that are deemed to have any merit are bars. Call me a repressive old biddy if you must, but it really rankles with me that Mr. Mavrakis has asked for  special treatment from the city for his business(es). Why not open a gallery, book/coffee shop,  boutique that caters to plus size women,  or something wlse other than a bar in that space. Are bars the only money-making businesses these days?

      1. Why don’t you open a boutique?

        I know nothing of Mr. Mavrakis, but restaurants/bars are probably his field of expertise.  Most people stick to their field and skill sets, not open up a bunch of different, unrelated businesses.  To suggest that this guy go open ia plus-size boutique for women seems a bit silly.  However, you are free to.

  6. Evanston leadership is regressive and repressive

    This issue arouses my curiosity on many fronts.

    It seems Mayor Tisdahl would rather not to go forward with a new tavern license for World of Beer because she says she and aldermen would have to meet with downtown businesses and get their input and explain  the new proposed tavern liquor license. 

    OK, so why didn't aldermen or the Environment Board do the same thing with the proposed five-cents bag tax last fall that went before the City Council twice? The bag tax was approved by the Enviroment Board and sent to the City Council and both times it was discovered that no one sought input from local businesses. The second time the bag tax came before the Council all but one aldermen criticized the bag tax but took no formal vote and kicked the issue back to the Environment Board, allowing bag tax proponents to fight another day.

    If Mayor Tisdahl wants World of Beers to install a kitchen why doesn't SHE contact company owners and ask them? It's quite clear that building owner, Ted Makravis, is unhappy with Tisdahl who single-handledly denied Tilted Kilted a liquor license because she did not approve of the company's dress attire. 

    The Fountain Square building is a prime location in downtown Evanston and yet it has remained vacant for several years. Tisdahl seems to be against this new tavern license and would like to pawn it off to the City Council for vote, suggesting that a two-thirds vote is needed to overturn her license denial.

    Of course, other restaurant bar/owners don't want more competition but times change and under a new tavern license they could always adjust. It is rumored that Aldermen Jane Grover is being groomed for the mayor's position and I'd like to know what her position is on this other than her acknowlegement that the World of Beers business model doesn't fit under the city's current liquor ordinance. 

    The City Council and the mayor are once again picking winners and losers. Evanston taxpayers are consistenly the losers as city taxes exceed double digits in two years along with increased fees and rates.

    Our city leadership isn't progressive, it's regressive and repressive.

  7. Common Sense

    I agree!!!

    I find it hard to believe that Liberals/Progressives find business so distasteful.  They seem to have enough money to live in Evanston so they cannot be as opposed to business as they seem or is all their money inherited? None of them work for a living?  None of them have their own business?  Or is it more 'do as I say not as I do?'


  8. Put me in the disagree with

    Put me in the disagree with just about everything you said camp.

    First off, the Tilted Kilt that would have opened in Evanston opened somewhere else and guess what? The manager is already being sued for sexual harassment of the waitresses and I'm pretty sure the place has already closed. Thank you for not opening in Evanston!

    What is it with this guy Mavrakis that every business he wants to open is in conflict with community standards or the law?

    How fair is it to the owners of Prairie Moon or Nevins or any other rnumber of restaurants with big "bars" in them, that they have to keep their kitchens open but this Mavrakis guy's place doesn't even need a kitchen?

    And there would be no net "NEW" taxes if Mavrakis's quasi-bar opened. It would take business away from other places and their taxes would go down. By a lot.

    1. There would be “new” taxes

      If a place like World of Beer opened in Evanston, I would actually visit it. As it is, I go to Chicago for my tavern/pub experiences – cheaper, less hassle, preferred atmosphere. And I'm not the only one. So yes, there would be new net taxes from all of us who currently venture into Chicago for a pint.

    2. You over-simplify.

      You over-simplify the issue.  Evanston is not encassed in a bubble where Evanstonians only patronize Evanston businesses and persons that live outside of Evanston can't come to Evanston.  A new bar with appeal:

      1. Might bring people out more often when they would otherwise sit at home or at a friends house instead of going to a different bar in Evanston.

      2. People from outside Evanston might come into Evanston to try this place.

      3. And a fully occupied storefront would increase the property's assessed value and reduce the overall tax burden on everyone else.

    3. He was going to open a Tilted

      He was going to open a Tilted Kilt in Morton Grove.  If you do a quick google search, you'll see that one has never been opened there.  They still haven't applied to the city.

      All the city needs to do is stop requiring the kitchens of the other bars in town to be opened all night.  Then it would be plenty fair.

  9. Thanks for the breath of

    Thanks for the breath of fresh air from Common Sense!   I agree wholeheartedly with her/him as well as with Brian. I too am fired up about the endless complaints about how "broke" we are, so often coupled with the shooting down of every business initiative with any possibility of generating tax revenues.  May this beloved but often-stilted town start casting out the dusty skeletons of its legacy of repression.

  10. Unreal reality

    If I had to guess at the mayor's motive for balking at the new boozer, I'd say she is probably getting quite a bit of blowback from existing businesses. That is, I wonder if the current establishments, which are required to sell food along with alcohol, are saying it would be unfair if the new place didn't have to?

    Overall, though. I agree. We need the money.

  11. Good business model

    What is wrong with allowing patrons to purchase food from other establishments? Don't we want local restaurants to be successful? Why encourage him to provide (possibly) mediocre food when people could order good stuff from people who are already in the business of providing food?

    I can't understand why this town is so weird about business. We throw money at some people (wine bar on Howard, TIF for Dempster/Dodge) and yet we make it hard for others who want to open businesses.

    Does the City's Economic Development office have guidelines for prospective businesses so they know what to do/not do? Or is it all about making nice with the right people?

    Why are some new/prospective businesses looking for funding online and others getting handouts from the City?

  12. Mayor tries to preserve ban

    Ted should install 5 microwaves & a refrige to hold frozen French Fries, frozen Onion Rings, frozen Clam Strips, frozen Pizza Piuffs & some packages of hot dogs. That's the kitchen & menu.

  13. Allow me to play devil’s advocate

    What scenario allows WOB sooner? The owner decides to install a kitchen or the City goes through the process of changing the laws to allow for bars that don't serve food? I'd guess the former. 

    I haven't seen the Mayor state any opposition to WOB other than it would violate the current law. Maybe she's asking the owner to install a kitchen in attempt to get it opened sooner? Just a thought.

  14. agree with you all

    Why do we need this Evanston law that prohibits straight bars? 

    Do we not have laws that prohibit unruly public intoxication?  Enforce those.  Let Maveriks have his license.






  15. Tisdahl is a Romney-style flip flopper

    One thing is clear from the city's zoning code: if you want to sell booze, you have to be a restaurant. Everyone knows that World of Beer is a bar–plain and simple. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's a duck. Tisdahl INITIALLY ENDORSED Markavis' plan to allow food to be delivered to WOB. This basically was an endorsement for a bar. Of course she did this knowing that the law didn't allow for it. When the issue got sent to the council subcommittee, they did the right thing: they said, lets get a bar license in the zoning code. So this opposition to making the concept that she endorsed legal makes absolutely no sense. It is also important to remember that there are other new businesses that could be affected. There is a resident trying to open a craft brewery with a tap room in the under-developed west side and he won't be able to do so under the existing law. Seriously, lets move Evanston AT LEAST into the 20th century instead of being mired in the 19th!

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