Wilmette, News

Opening plans and refreshers on two incoming restaurants

Two highly anticipated dining spots are preparing for their grand debuts in the North Shore.

Tala Coffee Roasters in Winnetka and EvaDean’s Bakery and Cafe in Wilmette each plan to open later this fall. Tala’s Sydney Rubinstein said in an email that they have hopes for a November opening, while EvaDean’s Jordana Downer said her shop will be open by Thanksgiving, Nov. 23.

The Record has previously reported on both spots. See below for refreshers:

Tala Coffee Roasters’ 2nd location

As previously reported, Tala Coffee Roasters was chosen from three finalists to improve 93 Green Bay Road, which the Village of Winnetka purchased in 2001.

Since then, the property — which featured a vacant building that at one point was home to a Texaco gas station and service shop — was primarily leased to nearby auto dealerships for vehicle storage. In 2018, the Village began seeking developers, but hit reset in 2020 and named three new finalists in October 2021.

Tala Coffee, which opened its first cafe in an old Highwood fire station in 2018, is nearly done with the buildout of a 60-seat cafe and an outdoor seating space.

At its Highwood cafe, Tala serves its own roasted coffee, as well as traditional coffee drinks, such as espresso, macchiato and lattes. The menu also features speciality drinks that infuse flavors like brown sugar, honey, lavender and cinnamon. Tala also features a limited food menu with small bites (avocado toast, pudding, smoothie bowls) and pastries (doughnuts, muffins).

Tala Coffee will join Hometown Coffee and Juice, Peet’s Coffee and Starbucks, as coffee shops in Winnetka and off Green Bay Road. The other three shops are located north of Elm Street in downtown Winnetka.

Tala’s lease with the village has an initial term of 10 years with two additional 10-year options. The annual rent due to the Village of Winnetka is $4,110, and Tala is responsible for covering property taxes, as well as payments for liability and building insurance, building maintenance, utilities and refuse collection, according to Village documents.

Tala planned to invest $603,000 into the cafe’s buildout and improvements to the site, while the Village budgeted $946,230, including $563,730 for project-specific improvements and $382,500 for utility and parking “improvements required for any tenant,” the documents say. The partnership also includes a $60,000 village loan (3 percent interest) to Tala for building materials. The loan must be paid back within the 10-year length of the lease.

EvaDean’s in downtown Wilmette

As previously reported by The Record, EvaDean’s Bakery and Cafe acquired the building at 1115-1117 Central Ave. in March 2022.

Longtime occupant Lad & Lassie closed in early 2020, leaving the 6,000-square-foot vacant building in the heart of downtown Wilmette. According to previous board memos, finding a tenant “was a challenge” because of the size, shape and age of the building.

In 2021, the Downer family — including Jory Downer, owner of Bennison’s Bakery in Evanston — began discussions with the Village on EvaDean’s to be operated by Jordana Downer and husband Garrett VanBergen. The sides agreed on an incentive package that included shared use of Veteran’s Park just to the east of its building.

EvaDean’s plan calls for outdoor dining using about a third of Veterans Park with seating set back off Central Avenue and away from the flag pole.

VanBergen will be the head chef on the restaurant side, while Jordana Downer will lead the bakery. Garrett’s speciality, Downer said, is farm-to-table-style cuisine with specials that rotate with the season. 

EvaDean’s website says it will offer “a delightful array of bakery goods, breakfast, lunch, and cocktails. We offer an all-in-one bakery and restaurant experience for customers looking for a variety of bakery items and fresh meals.”

In downtown Wilmette, EvaDean’s will be the third breakfast location, joining Hotcakes around the corner on Wilmette Avenue and Fuel on the north side of the Metra station on Washington Court. Beloved morning spot Walker Bros. Original Pancake House is just outside the Village Center on Green Bay Road.

The district also features other bakeries, such as St. Roger Abbey French Organic Patisserie, Panera Bread, Buck Russell’s Bakery and Sandwich Shop, and Central Station Coffee and Tea.

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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