Evanston city staff Wednesday approved seven more sidewalk cafes for restaurateurs struggling to recover from pandemic-induced restrictions on their service and discussed plans for a brewery to open a patio operation in a city park.

Stetchbook Brewing owner Shawn Decker is asking to be able to serve beer in St. Paul Park, located just across the street from the craft brewery’s site at 821 Chicago Ave.

Shawn Decker.

Decker told the city staff members during a virtual meeting Wednesday aternoon that he’s working with nearby restaurants to provide food delivery to the patio, which is planned to have about nine picnic tables on the grass in the park and a sales tent on the paved space near two existing park benches.

The staff discussed issues ranging from the height of a temporary fence to provision of a portable toilet but seemed inclined to move forward with the plan once additional details are worked out.

The Farmhouse sidewalk cafe as it looked in 2018. (Google Maps)

Farmhouse owner T.J. Callahan said his business is down 75%. “We’re hanging on by our fingertips trying to stay in business here,” Callahan added, as he asked staff to expedite his request.

City staff members raised concerns about keeping a clear path for pedestrians using the rubberized handicap walkway strip just south of the building, but decided they could work that out in discussions after the vote to approve the overall cafe plan.

Other restaurants winning approval for outdoor dining plans were:

  • Bat 17, at 1709 Benson Ave. for a cafe with three tables on the sidewalk and 10 more in the parking stalls outside the restaurant.
  • Good To Go, at 711 Howard St., for a sidewalk cafe with five tables on the sidewalk outside the restaurant’s existing front patio space.
  • Lao Sze Chuan, 1633 Orrington Ave. for three tables on the sidewalk.
  • The Stained Glass, 1735 Benson Ave., for seven tables in the parking area in front of the restaurant.
  • Shinsen, 1322 Chicago Ave., for four tables on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.
  • Sea Ranch Sushi, 518 Dempster St., for three tables on the sidewalk in fron t of the restaurant.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Take over more streetscape for local businesses.

    Downtown should be effectively closed to traffic except for logistics. Let cars park in the underutilized garages and give street space over to our local businesses so they can benefit from the good weather and pent-up demand for dining. Tax revenue and safe socialization are desperately needed.

    1. This is correct – thru August at the least

      I agree with Jay – close off streets or make them one-way temporarily so business can utilize the parking spaces for seating. 100% drive people to park in the garages. Downtown Evanston should be a destination for safe socialization.

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