If you’re looking forward to dining at Alpana Singh’s new Evanston restaurant, don’t start salivating just yet. Singh says it could be summer or fall before Terra & Vine opens here.
In an interview with Evanston Now, Singh said there’s a lot of remodeling work to be done before the restaurant can open in the space at 1701 Maple Ave. in the Century Theatres complex occupied by Bravo! Cucina Italiana until it closed last October.
Plans for the new restaurant were first reported by Evanston Now Wednesday.
“You never know what you’re going to find when you open up a wall,” she added, so a schedule for opening is “up to the good graces of the buildout.”
The former “Check, Please!” television host says the faux columns that marked the Bravo! space will be likely to go, but she’ll be keeping the open kitchen look and bringing in a wood-fired grill, which, she said “adds another interesting dimension to the flavor of food.”
“My partner and I walked in yesterday,” Singh added, “and I said, ‘What are we going to do with the fake palm trees?'” — joking that she might take them home — because she’s never home so any live plants she’d have would die.
And while Terra & Vine will emphasize Italian food, Singh said she really couldn’t compare it to Bravo’s food — she said she’d never eaten there.
But she said it will focus on “chic” interpretations of rustic dishes from southern Italy and neighboring countries.
She called it a bit of “rustic glam” — like the decor in her Seven Lions restaurant in downtown Chicago where chandeliers are juxtaposed with barnwood.
“I don’t want it to scream special occasion,” she said. “We’re hoping people will feel comfortable visiting once a week — not just on birthdays or anniversaries.”
At 8,000 square feet, the space is one of the largest restaurants in Evanston — although somewhat smaller than Seven Lions or her other Chicago restaurant, The Boarding House.
Singh says that with Northwestern University and a lot of businesses and non-profits in Evanston, she sees a big need for private dining spaces — so the new restaurant will have four different rooms of various sizes that could also be combined to serve up to 140 people.
Besides the main dining room, with 115 seats, there’ll be a separate 40-seat bar area adjacent to the movie theater, called Bar Terra, that will serve a more limited menu for patrons looking for a quick meal before or after a show.
“I go to movies two or three times a month,” Singh said, “so as a movie patron, I see the need for a place designed to meet their needs for more casual fare that can be served a little more quickly.”
Former TV host to open restaurant here (2/17/16)