under-the-table

The owners of the newly formed Evanston pop-up restaurant Under the Table plans to move their base of operations from Chicago Avenue to a recently renovated space at 930 Pitner Ave. on Evanston’s west side.

22-year-olds Chikoo Patel, a senior at Loyola University, and Max Mora started Under the Table early last month, operating from Company, a popup restaurant space at 1307 Chicago Ave.

Patel says their goal in forming the business was to bring fine dining — seven course gourmet meals — to people who may not have the deep pockets to afford such a luxury at a conventional high end restaurant.

To make it affordable, the young entrepreneurs used the pop-up model. By asking potential patrons to buy tickets for  Under the Table dining events in advance, Patel said, they know exactly how much food they need for any given event, which cuts costs.

Patel said a seven-course dinner costs patrons between $60 and $70, depending on the menu, which changes once every six weeks.

Once they can get city approvals, Patel said the operation will move, likely in mid-October, to the new location at 930 Pitner Ave, in a block of live-work condominiums renovated in recent years by local architect Andy Spatz.

Though Patel said the restaurant plans to operate out of this location for the next six to eight months, he and Mora still plan to use a pop-up format for every dinner event.

“We plan on staying a ticket-based restaurant because of the benefits of it financially,” he said.

But the Pitner area is not known for its restaurants or similar commercial ventures, doesn’t get much foot traffic and isn’t close to mass transit.

“We do consider [that to be] something that could potentially slow our sales, but we don’t think it will be a make or break factor for us,” Patel said.

Patel said the live-work space is suited to their future plans to cater to the Northwestern University population. He said they are working on implementing “a gourmet brown paper bag delivery service” for the university.

The pop-up dining experience has worked for Under the Table so far, Patel said, but he doesn’t rule out the possibility of moving to a conventional restaurant model.

For now, however, he and Mora are focused on developing a following among North Shore residents.

Top: Chefs Anthony Scardino and Max Mora prepping for dinner service at Company.

Leave a comment

The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published.