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New restaurant Tapville Social kicked off its official opening weekend with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday at 810 Grove St.
Tony Studnicka, director of operations, says Tapville’s unusual “tap wall” sets it apart from other restaurants.
Forty-eight beverages are on tap at the restaurant for guests to enjoy ranging from beer, wine and cider to sangria.
“It really is the future of restaurants,” Studnicka said. “Utilizing technology to further grow hospitality. That is what excites us, there is really nothing like what we bring to the table and Evanston is a town that has culture and a good background, and we thought it would be a good footprint for us.”
Tapville moved into the space formerly occupied by Bangers & Lace, owned by Footman Hospitality. Footman approached Tapville about opening a franchise in Evanston and Studnicka thought the concept would be “absolutely perfect.”
The Tapville brand runs three different operations: restaurants, kiosks and mobile units. There is a flagship restaurant in Naperville and other locations are open or coming soon across Illinois, Indiana, Texas, Florida, Colorado and South Carolina. Studnicka said developing an airport model is also in the works.
The restaurant in Evanston has a full bar and kitchen in addition to the tap wall. Studnicka explained that guests receive a “pour pass,” a card that holds their tab for the evening.
The pour pass is linked to a credit or debit card and when inserted into the tap wall, it activates the tap and patrons can pour their drink. Customers are charged per ounce, not per glass. Orders for food and bar drinks can also be placed using the iPads at every table. Servers are assigned tables, but all payment processing is done through the pour pass.
At the end of their visit, guests then deposit the pour pass in one of several gratuity boxes on their way out. “Drop it and forget it,” Studnicka said.
With this method, guests are in control of when they order, when they pay, how much or how little they want to drink. And it eliminates the issue of splitting the bill for groups.
“This has been a revolutionary thing for us,” Studnicka said. “We wanted to alleviate any pain points for guests and make the overall experience what they want it to be. It’s the best of both worlds, technology and human interaction combined.”
On Mondays and Tuesdays Tapville hosts its “Cupcake and Cocktails Pairing” event with cupcakes from Molly’s Cupcakes. A plate of four cocktails is served to accompany four cupcakes, with each cocktail being specifically designed to mirror the taste of the desserts.
Tapville also offers margarita and sangria flight nights and mimosa flights with brunch.
Studnicka said the menu is a mix of American classics and Tex-Mex, including favorites like cheese curds, burgers and flatbread with many vegetarian or gluten-free options. All menu items are made in-house.
“We want to become an American iconic brand,” Studnicka. “We really want to be ingrained in the Evanston community, that’s what Tapville is about, bringing people together.”