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Evanston zoning officials are reviewing a proposal to remodel the interior of the old Dairy Queen building at 999 Howard St. to turn it into a new restaurant.

City records list the name of the new place as Maxwell Style Grill, which is similar to the name of a carry-out-only restaurant in Lincolnwood, the Original Maxwell Street Style Grill, which closed in 2013.

That establishment got strong reviews on Yelp, including from one man who said it had “the absolute best pork chop sandwich.”

Elsewhere on the Evanston dining beat this week …

  • Plans are in the works to turn the shuttered Video Adventure video rental store at 1926 Central St. into a new sit-down restaurant called Pita Mediterranean Grill. That project is awaiting review by the city’s Design and Project Review Committee.
  • Plans have been filed to fill the space in The Galleria at 811 Church St. left vacant when the Art & Science Salon moved to 1629 Orrington Ave. with a new sit-down restaurant called Grape & Grain.
  • And, as we reported Monday, Found Kitchen owner Amy Morton is planning a second restaurant in town, called The Barn. The City Council has approved her request for easements to provide access through a city parking lot to the location, a former stable building at the rear of 1016 Church St.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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5 Comments

  1. New Restaurant for 1900 Block of Central Street
    When is enough enough?

    Plans for a new restaurant where Video Adventures was located is simply overkill. Within the one block stretch of Central St where this restaurant is to be located there are NINE restaurants already. From west to east; Coast, Symphony’s, Blue Stone, Subway, Pinto Tai, Royin Sushi Bar, Prairie Joes, Leonidas and Jillys. There is even the Happy Husky for the dogs.

    With the new restaurant, there would be three next to each other; Blue Stone, Royin Sushi and the new one.

    Shouldn’t there be some protections for the existing restaurants some of which have served the community for over 30 years?

    Perhaps the city and the Central St folks should take a look at something else other than another unneeded restaurant.

    1. Protecting incumbents?

      Hi Patrick,

      So you're saying that the city should forbid a property owner with a vacant commercial building from renting to a willing restaurant tenant just to protect existing restaurant businesses from competition?

      Real anti-competitive of you.

      — Bill

    2. Restaurants are a risky business. Zero Sum game ?
      Certainly if someone wants to open a new restaurant/bar that is their business.
      But the city should not be involved in financing it–rent, tax waiving or postponement, decorating, awnings, patios and so forth.
      We have seen too many fail.
      The other consequence is the effect of ‘too many’ however you judge that, on employee wages/benefits. If you spread the number of clients over a larger base, revenue for each will sink and employees will not be able to be paid as much, fewer will be hired/replaced, wait times will increase, automation [electronic order and payment replace cashiers and waiters], new cooking facilities will cut down on cooking staff, more self-serve, etc.. $15 p/h wage may be possible with a reduction of X number of restaurants but with the current or new restaurants ?
      Of course if you can draw in new patrons to eating meals without it reducing meals serve elsewhere in Evanston, Evanston wages may still grow, but are they taken from Wilmette, Chicago, Skokie ? I.e. how much is it a Zero Sum game ?

    3. Absolutely!

      First, subway is not a restaurant, it's fast food.

      Second, all those restaurants serve very diverse menu choices and clientele.  Saying that no more may open because there are too many restaurants is the claim of someone with a dead tongue.

      Third, why should the city play culinary king maker?  The clients (or lack of them) will sort the winners from the losers.  I know who I'm rooting for (and against).  Root for yours with your wallet!

  2. Restaurants and job growth

    A March 2015 Marketwatch article entitled "Americans are Foodies Again: Restaurant Spending Strongest Since 2006." notes that restaurant spending is highly cyclical.

    "Eating out is one of the first things Americans cut back on when the economy turns worse. By the same token, they go to restaurants more often when the economy improves and they feel more secure in their jobs.

    "In 2014, the U.S. added more than 3 million jobs to post the fastest job growth since 1999. The unemployment rate, in turn, has tumbled to 5.5% and layoffs are near the lowest level in 15 years.

    "The restaurant business, for its part, added just over 400,000 new jobs in 2014 to mark the largest increase ever. The pace of hiring was also the fastest since 1993.

    "At the end of 2014, what’s more, the industry employed a record 11.01 million people. And employment is nearly 14% higher now compared with the prerecession peak.

    "One caveat: The industry pays well below the national average wage, though tips are not included. An increase in lower-paying service jobs could also be a restraint on the economy’s growth potential."

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