Wilmette, Community

EvaDean’s makes long-awaited debut in downtown Wilmette

With a pastry case colorfully stocked, a menu full of elevated comfort classics and sun shining through a window-paneled facade, EvaDean’s Bakery and Cafe opened for business on Leap Day, Thursday, Feb. 29, in downtown Wilmette.

Opening day was a long time coming for the much-anticipated breakfast-lunch spot, word of which was first reported by The Record almost exactly two years ago, on March 2, 2022.

EvaDean’s, 1115 Central Ave., originally hoped to open in mid-2023 but a series of delays, primarily related to equipment acquisition and construction , pushed opening into 2024.

With that in mind, Thursday came with a major exhale for EvaDean’s leaders Jordana and Garrett VanBergen.

EvaDean’s is now open in the building formerly occupied by Lad & Lassie.

“Feeling pretty good,” Jordan VanBergen said. “The last week came with a big push, but it’s finally here. Definitely a sense of relief.”

EvaDean’s took over the space at 1115-1117 Central Ave. in Wilmette after two years of vacancy following the 2020 closure of 67-year-old Wilmette business Lad & Lassie.

In 2021, the Downer family — led by Jordana’s father, Jory Downer, owner of Bennison’s Bakery in Evanston — began discussions with the Village to open EvaDean’s under the leadership of the VanBergens. The sides agreed on an incentive package that included shared use of Veteran’s Park just to the east of its building.

Garrett VanBergen is the head chef on the restaurant side, Jordana VanBergen is the lead in the bakery, and Jory Downer plays a vital role on both sides of the business.

EvaDean’s has separate entrances for its bakery and its restaurant. The bakery, which opens daily at 7 a.m., serves artisan breads, coffees and homemade pastries, such as croissants, doughnuts, muffins and more. In the adjoining space, beginning at 8 a.m., the restaurant offers breakfast and lunch specialities, including French-style omelets and brioche French toast and a crispy chicken thigh sandwich and kale caesar salad.

The bakery opens at 7 a.m. daily and dining room at 8 a.m.

EvaDean’s also serves beer, wine and speciality cocktails.

“Our tagline for this is contemporary classic,” Garrett VanBergen said.

EvaDean’s incorporates the feeling of Americana bakeries and diners, like the ones Jordana VanBergen grew up visiting with her family. The ceilings are textured and high. The wall shelves look like folded shutters and hold kitsch, like decorative plates and cookbooks. The counter stools await patrons looking for coffee and pie.

“It’s a little antiquey, but modern,” Jordana said.

When the weather warms, and stays that way, a handful of EvaDean’s tables will appear in adjacent Veterans Park.

Until March 4, EvaDean’s is taking reservations only, which can be made online, for its dining room; though, the bakery is open for normal business: 7 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.

Parking is also available in the rear of the building, on top of the spaces along Central Avenue.

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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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