A long-vacant building on Simpson Street at the edge of Twiggs Park in Evanston could soon become the site of a new restaurant.

The Design and Project Review Committee is scheduled Wednesday to consider a request to rezone the property from R3 to B1 and grant variances needed to transform it into a restaurant with carryout service.

Applicants Vira Yenakly and Rita Kats have submitted plans that call a restaurant with 13 seats inside and a patio at the rear of the building that could provide seating for another 40 patrons.

A view of the side of the transformed building that would face the park.

The property has been vacant for most of the past two decades.

An October 2016 image of the buiding from Google Maps.

In 2006 then Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, sought to have the city acquire the building to expand Twiggs Park, but failed to get support from other aldermen to make the purchase.

The following year the building was acquired for $235,000 by Peter Fleps, who hoped to turn it into a design studio and wood shop for his business, Flepspace LLC.

Those plans were opposed by some neighborhood residents, who objected to the rezoning and said they feared the the building would end up being turned into a retail store. The neighbors also echoed the suggestion from Holmes that the city should buy the building, tear it down and add the land to the park. The City Council ultimately denied the rezoning request.

The property had previously been zoned B1 for business use, but that zoning had been changed to R3 a few years before Fleps purchased it.

Yenakly and Kats acquired the building from Fleps last October for $70,000.

Kats previously owned the Bread ā€˜nā€™ Bowl restauraunt in Niles which drew favorable reviews on Yelp when it was open from 2008 to about 2010.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Feel bad for whoever invested

    Feel bad for whoever invested over 200k and couldn’t put this building to good use. Who opposes something that might benefit this neighboorhood?.. The fact is this neighborhood is in need of a change.

  2. Site of old EPL west branch ?

    I think this, or an attached building, was where the EPL west branch was up to the 70s’

    1. There was a single family

      There was a single family home directly behind the building which was demo’d roughly 10-15 years ago. Parts of the foundation are still visible.

  3. Poor branding

    Just calling it “Restaurant” isn’t great branding. Doubt it will succeed with that name. SMH. 

    1. You’ve never seen

      You’ve never seen an architectural rendering with placeholder signage before?

      Sheltered life you lead.

      — Bill

  4. Some words by mouth about this property at 1829 Simpson St.

    In my opinion, this bldg ( and several others ))in the 5th Ward should be Historical sites in Evanston,  lllinois. Why?  Because Colour people  ( Co’lour = people of many Colors , by no fault of our own/their own) Example:  black, dark brown, brown, milk chocolate,light brown, tan, medium brown, light skin, low yellow, high yellow, pink, pinkish , reddish and sometimes pale. I am from the Co’lour race. I am who i am…be it as it may. Most Colour people lived and bought their houses in the 5th Ward…because they were not allowed to do so in other wards. Please, correct me if i am wrong or did not research enough.  Any who, l / we heard  Mr. Fleps was selling the/his bldg for over $235,000.00.  In the end, I heard Mr. Fleps had sold his bldg. for $70,000.00 . I was upset when l discovered this!! I will stick to facts/documented…instead of  word of mouth and/or  gossip??  This Twiggs park is very special to me , here in the 5th Ward . ( and for other folks too and other parks ).  I took my small / large children to Butler Park, Red Fence Park ,across Mc Cormick Blvd. etc…..But, Twiggs Park was and still is very special to us. Since the 60’s..the majority of our Easter Egg hunts took place there….even now.  We miss our Willow Tree by the Canal ….Enough… for now. Memories!

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