The new restaurant at the Dempster Street entrance to Evanston is interviewing potential workers this week as the owners get ready to open soon.

The owners of Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles at 2424 Dempster say they’re looking for “experienced and motivated” line cooks, diswashers, runners, busers, cashiers, bartenders and servers.

They’ll be holding interviews from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at the restaurant and ask applicants to bring a resume, current photo and identification.

The restaurant, which has been in the planning for over a year, received a $200,000 loan from the city last spring to help finance renovation of the building, a former auto parts store and earlier this month received a nearly $8,000 facade improvement grant.

Another dining spot that received major financial help from the city, the Ward Eight cocktail lounge on Howard Street, opened earlier this month.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Chicken and Waffles versus the Wine and Cheese Bar

    At economic development I stated I supported the loan to Chicken and Waffles, why?  The owner has major equity in the business. The city did not provide them the entire business, as they did with the Wine and Cheese, that is the paid for the complete business. 

    Also it is clear this owner was experienced since they had several other Chicken and Waffles opened, It is very unlikely large amounts of city staff time were used to manage this work, the city does not own this building and created the entire project like the Wine and Cheese Bar.  Clearly the owners run the project, and put in their time not using our tax dollars to provide city staff.

    There was a land deal which I did not know about at the time for the parking, so I have not looked into it, so this may increase the money ( $208,000) but over all this business, appears to far better use of economic development funds then the patronage of Ann Rainey.

    The business also appears to be generate real jobs for moderate income residents, which will give residents a chance for employement, given the $208,000 expediture, as  a loan versus the over $700,000 for the Wine and Cheese Bar, which included some free grant money which does not appear has created few if any jobs.  So what benefit did the Wine and Cheese Bar provide the low to moderate income residents on Howard street for the CBGF funds it used? ($170,000)

    It looks like Chicken and Waffles will generate business, since its moderate pricing should compete, and fits in to the area, versus a Wine and Cheese Bar on Howard Street.

    Also Chicken and Waffles is owned by sucessful miniority business people, which is one city policy we wasted money on for years pretenting we needed to spend $100,000 a year to monitor miniority business, rather than create a sucessful environment to attract quality business.


    One last interesting note: were is the sign on the Front of the Wine and Cheese Bar? ( they called it a soft opening?) The business openned up with out a sign on the building. Even with the City running this project it could not get the sign up, ( business open up six months late?) The owners of Chicken Waffles have  not even openned the bussiness and signs are up. Anyone see the troubling issues here?

    1. HUD and those uppity south siders

      Your assertion that development under CDBG funding needs to fit the character of the neighborhood is wrong.  Here's what HUD says about the CDBG funds that it administers:

      "HUD awards grants to entitlement community grantees to carry out a wide range of community development activities directed toward revitalizing neighborhoods, economic development, and providing improved community facilities and services."

      Revitalize neighborhoods — first item listed by HUD.

      Under your argument, a chicken and waffles restaurants fits with the character of the west side so it qualifies for CDBG funds.  But apparently it's just being uppity to think that a nice wine bar is economic development for what you apparently consider our south side slum.  

      HUD doesn't see it that way.  I am appreciative that a majority of the Evanston alderman didn't either. 

      1. You better take a good look at how the HUD funds were used

        I am not so certain the HUD funds were correctly used in the Wine and Cheese Bar project.  I am not so certain HUD funds can be used to buy Bar fixtures, as this project did.  I do not see how that does anything for the neighborhood.

        I do not think the majority of evanston council members have  a clue what they approved and vote on. They are not questioning what is going on.

        You comment about CDBG funds and there use, needs to be looked at beyond Howard street over 1/2 of Evanston allows the use of the funds, so please tell me what value these funds have in being used to buy Bar fixtures on Howard Street?  I think there are more pressing needs in town and better use of the funds.

        I could care less if a private person on the south side of Evanston wants to use their own funds to open a Wine and Cheese Bar on Howard Street, the issue is this entire misadventure used 100% of Evanston taxpayers money  in regards to the funding sources.

        Your comment 

        Under your argument, a chicken and waffles restaurants fits with the character of the west side so it qualifies for CDBG funds.  But apparently it's just being uppity to think that a nice wine bar is economic development for what you apparently consider our south side slum. 

        HUD doesn't see it that way.  I am appreciative that a majority of the Evanston alderman didn't either.

        The city is looking under every rock it can  to find funding for these projects there is no budget for these items its comes as you go, staff goes looking for money. The problem appears they may not be using the funds correctly which may lead to bigger problems, you "Uppity" south siders along with the rest of us may be stuck with higher tax bills to continue to fix the mess.  While few understand when the city moved ECTV to the service building it broke federal law ( ADA) knowing, if they had to actually do the project correctly it would have cost at least $200,000 or more. They would have had no cost savings and Wally would not have been allowed to take more of ECTV funding for his other uses.   It appears this Wine and Cheese Bar may have issues in its funding, far beyond what you think politically.




        1. Legal authority, please

          You are aware that CDBG funds are federal dollars so it is tax money collected on a national basis. CDBG funds are not provided by Evanston real estate or sales tax revenue.  So claiming that the CDBG funds came solely from Evanston taxpayers is not accurate.  Also a good portion of the wine bar's funding is a loan.

          You claim that the CDBG funding for the wine bar may have problems other than politically. You imply that the City has broken the law by awarding this funding. Please cite the legal authority that states CDBG funds can not be used to purchase equipment for a business and specifically cannot be used buy equipment for a business serving alcohol. The citation needs to be to a statute, regulation or HUD guidance document. 

          Here's how there is value — revitalize the neighborhood by helping establish a business that can attract customers to the business and activity to the street. You do not agree but the aldermen did.  

          Howard Street is as entitled to those federal funds as any other qualifying area of town if not more so. Tell us the last time that CDBG funds have been used on the east end of Howard Street to support a business.  A vibrant Howard Street business district will help all of Evanston through tax revenue (the wine bar is paying those taxes now) and through increased real estate taxes (the wine bar needs to pay those taxes as well).  CDBG funds help the City jump start that exciting change. 

          Are you asserting that the City should have used CDBG funds to improve its own property for ECTV?  Does the neighborhood where that building is located qualify for CDBG funds?

          1. Insert sound of crickets here and move on

            Why not just admit it — it was not illegal to award HUD funds to the wine bar.  You can't cite any authority that it was illegal.  

            Did you happen to see that the place was hopping?  It was and that's great news.  Lots of people from near and far are visiting Howard Street and seeing its potential. 

            If you are concerned about the sign, have you called the city department that enforces the sign ordinance?  You might learn something — maybe the sign still needs city approval, maybe the installation is planned but the installer had to delay the installation and the installer informed the city, etc.  When you ask a question of the people who have the information, you will learn something. Perhaps you will learn that there is nothing sinister afoot.  Imagine that. 

            We know that you don't like what was done. We get it. But when it succeeds, many, many people will be happy.     And the entire City will benefit from a tax paying business on Howard Street that attracts other businesses. 

      2. Sign ordinance is it being correctly enforced?

        Last night I happened to walk by the Wine and Cheese Bar on Howard, there was a posted print out in the window about the sign ordinance?  It looked as if someone had printed it up?  Was it a city employee?  It did not have any official city tie in.It appear to be official but anyone could have posted it.

        Some one stated on here the troubling issue when a city owns a business, which it owns this entire project, that is they are not enforcing their own rules correctly.

        This business has now been open, and still does not have a sign up, it shows you the poor planning city staff are doing, but what it really shows is the city should not be creating Wine and Cheese Bars.

        Also the comment that HUD funds are not our local tax dollars, anyone who thinks that is just out of touch with reality.  Did we all just get a 2% reduction to our pay checks? The idea that any TAX dollars, federal, state or local should be used on this mess of a project, should be troubling to any intelligent jperson.  A logical person, that is not one of the 8th ward quick topic friends of Ann, should understand HUD funds are real money, that serve a better purpose than being used to buy bar fixtures for a private business.


    2. Huh?

      Are you not the one who stated city government has no business loaning out money? So this place gets less money so that is ok? What is the difference? Other than your standards. 

      1. Economic development

        Yes while I would prefer as little city money used for private activities as possible, the city is going to continue to do economic development.  Should we give one business the entire funding, that is the tenants used little if any of their own funds into the wine and Cheese bar, Chicken and Waffles has mostly outside and owner funding plus they executed the project.  There is a very large difference, you have to look at the details to understand.

        Currently there appear to be no economic development standards, even council members a few are starting to question what is going on.

  2. What a disappointing facade!

    Although I wish them business success, I am sorry that the City gave money for elevations that are so banal, uninspired and unattractive.  Dryvit and fake stone – such a disappointment.  Good design can be used to drive business to a location – instead, this speaks of boring and mediocre.  I would have no problem if this was purely the choice of the restaurant owners themselves – but it is the fact that the City gave money (grant money specifically for the facade – and loan), and the outcome is such a disappointing lack of design creativity I think is shameful.

    1. Appearances can be deceiving

      Yes, the exterior architecture does seem right out of "Generic Signage Outlet." All the same, consider the decidedly downtrodden curb appearance of the beloved and fabulously successful Evanston Chicken Shack on Ridge Ave. [

      I'm more intrigued by the signage (in the upper left corner of the photo) that appears to disjointedly read "Chicago's (italics) Evanston." What's with that?

  3. So it goes again, “where was the oversight on this one”

    The inability to design basic signage for the building is incredible. It is possible the facade grant might have gone toward hiring a proven team of designers. A less expensive idea might be to hold a design contest specifically for design or business students at Northwestern with little or no prize money to yield something that was less confusing.

    The use of three different fonts on the Dempster side of the building alone makes the two different facade types even more disjointed. Since it looks to be designed as two different buildings (exterior walls, awning, and door style do not match) one building says, "CHICAGO'S Evanston," and the other store says "HOME OF CHICKEN & WAFFLES."

  4. Chicago’s Evanston Home of Chicken And Waffles?

    So … that's what $8000 buys for signage these days?

    I think a better idea would have built off the existing "paint the plows" contest: We could have the local schools come up with a signage design for Chicago's Evanston Home Of Chicken And Waffles,* and then we could hang their signage on the business for a month at a time, rotating through all the entries. The signage that draws the most business in their particular month could become the permanent signage for the establishment. (Or, if that seems too capitalistic, we could send them all to Sign Review, and let them decide and pass it on to the Council for approval at which point the Council could pick whichever one their children designed.) It wouldn't be worse than what they've got.


    *I can only guess that's what they're trying to say. That or it's two businesses: "Home of Chicken and Waffles" and something called "Chicago's Evanston" which I would suppose is a millinery?

  5. Where funding comes from

    If we stop sending our taxes to Washington and keep them in Evanston and the State, maybe more intelligent decisions will be make.

    As it is Washington takes their 'cut' so they can send money to where they will get votes, take taxpayer trips, etc. and then sends some money back to the states/cities.

    The states/cities are blind to the fact that is their money they are getting back, and treat it like money from heaven. If city/state officials realized that the taxes they collect will remain with them and it is all they get, they might spend it more wisely instead of always expecting more gifts and bailouts from the federal government.

  6. Why do we Need this again?

    Im not sure why we need to have this establishment and why werent they asked to be apart of the Dempster and Dodge complex as its an HUGE ass EYE Sore!!!! Evanston wastes our tax $$$ … fix some of these other things that lack first..introducing another Chicken Spot…is that really needed? 

  7. I don’t understand why

    I don't understand why everybody is not liking the new buisness! I hope they have great success and bring Evanston a great revenue!

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