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It is refreshing to see four new (relatively new) places, each to delight the taste buds as well as the eyes, each designed differently, but all very well.
The oldest (all but three years) is Konkasu, 1514 Sherman Ave., with a beautifully simple sign composed of a warm grey background, aluminum letters and a rich maroon sun-disc referring to its Japanese character. The same color scheme is carried out inside with gray or deep maroon walls, a bright red background behind the serving bar and muted orange curtains. Dark stained-wood floor and ceiling beams, chairs and table tops set off the white china.
Much more recent is Vinic Wine, 1509 Chicago Ave., a building that is an architectural gem in a French-chateau style with genuine Mansard roof. The simple, traditional interior is a perfect background to the bottles of wine, making one feel as if one is in a chateau: beige walls with light pea-green trim, dark wood cases and shelving. What reads the strongest besides the ubiquitous bottles of fine wine are the sparkling chandeliers. Add a dark quarry-tile floor with an occasional throw rug and the place exudes friendliness.
While Konkasu is totally modern, Vinic Wine can best be described as eclectic, mixing modern with old-fashioned in a very comfortable way.
Far more recent, about a year old, is Orga-Nick, at 1223 Chicago Ave., a place that advertises tea, yogurt, salads, wraps, crapes and smoothies. It is a classic example of how simplicity can be a very good design principle indeed. It has basically only two colors, orange and white: bright orange chairs and white ones, white floor with orange accents.TV screens on both white walls as you enter and face the bar – also orange and white – in the background. It is simple and refreshing like the food and drinks it offers.
On the northwest corner of Chicago and Dempster is the newest, the Homemade Pizza Co., which sells a fine product one takes home and completes in the oven. The utter simplicity of the interior is impressive: white walls and white Formica counter, mixed with stainless steel, the shiny metallic quality of which repeats on suspended downlights as well. Elegance, simplicity and good product.
While the above places are outstanding designs, there are a number of fine new eating places that are not remarkable as far as their visual impact is concerned. Both kinds are witnesses to the liveliness of Evanston.