Evanston gains some new food options this week, offsetting a number of closings in recent days.

Pret a Manger, the London-based sandwich chain that’s gained a foothold recently in Chicago, is scheduled to open its new Evanston Location at 1701 Sherman Ave. downtown tomorrow, according to Alderman Judy Fiske, whose 1st Ward includes the restaurant site.

The Pret a Manger location until recently was a retail outlet for the Clear internet service.

And Friday is scheduled to be opening day for two food places on Simpson Street.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, says there’ll be a grand opening ceremony at noon for Ruby G’s soul food kitchen in the former Simpson Grill location at 1623 Simpson.

Then at 12:30 p.m., there’ll be a ribbon cutting for a new fresh foods market at 1723 Simpson. That location was formerly the site of Ramy Foods, which went out of business after police made several arrests there for drug dealing and food-stamp fraud.

Recent additions to Evanstonians’ food scene include:

  • Soulwich, an Asian salad and sandwich shop at 1634 Orrington Ave. which you might remember as the one-time site of a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop,
  • Austin’s Tacos opened recently at 622 Davis St., formerly the site of Al’s Italian Beef, and
  • Hota at 2545 Prairie Ave., at the former site of Jacky’s on Prairie.

Recent closings have included Merle’s BBQ, the Tiny Dog Bakery, Casteel Coffee and the 38 Degrees yogurt shop.

Top: An image from Hota’s website of one of its dishes.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Missed one

    How about the hibachi & sushi restaurant on the southside of Davvi in the 500 block?  It looks almost open-ready.

  2. Pret itself told me last week

    Pret itself told me last week it would be the 23rd, but earlier the better!

    1. Pret a Manger

      So is it going to be the 23rd?  The place looks ready (prêt) now, and enquiring minds want this place to open up toute de suite.

      1. Jan 23 is the day

        To answer my own enquiry:

        Pret a Manger now has a sign on their window, announcing that the opening will indeed be Jan 23.

  3. Austin’s Tacos

     I hit Austin’s Tacos tonight for dinner they were great hope to see them here for years to come.

  4. Also a new bistro opened on Noyes…

    … just a couple of doors down from Noyes St. Cafe.  Looks very nice and I plan to give it a try for lunch today.

    1. Not exactly new …

      Not exactly new, it's the new site of the I Dream of Sweets that used to be on Dempster just west of Chicago Ave.

      It does look fantastic though!

    1. Re: Soulwich?

      Yesterday I stopped at Soulwich for lunch. The menu is a bit small- at least for now-, but everything sounded interesting. I settled on the thai chicken sandwich with burmese flavored chips. It was very good. The bread for the sandwich was some of the best I've had for any sandwich anywhere. All of the ingredients were fresh and tasty. The chips were made in-house and very good. I'm not a huge Asian-fusion fan, but I'll definitely be back.

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