From a young age, CD Young said she always felt it was weird that people ate some animals and not others. Young grew up on a farm in Iowa and developed close relationships with the animals, specifically horses. She said as she got older and “really started to understand what happens with farm animals,” she was done eating animal products.

Southwest Wrap at elephant + vine. (Photo by Kailley Lindman Federighi)

Owner of Spirit Elephant, the all-vegan restaurant in Winnetka, Young decided to expand her love of vegan food to Evanston and Lincoln Park. Elephant + vine, the sister store of Spirit Elephant, will be more fast-casual and provide counter service rather than the fine dining of Spirit Elephant.

Young said that many customers at Spirit Elephant are Evanston residents and her most frequent customer is an Evanstonian. And beginning in March, Evanston residents will have their own taste of elephant + vine at 719 Church St.

The location was a no-brainer, Young said. They wanted to be close to Northwestern.

“Northwestern students – they have a pulse on environmental and sustainability issues,” she said. “We want to be where the action is.”

A rendering of the elephant + vine location on Church Street.

Because takeout will be the go-to at elephant + vine, Young said she envisions people visiting downtown Evanston and grabbing their vegan food and eating on the Northwestern campus or at Fountain Square.

While vegan and vegetarians alike will be attracted to elephant + vine, Young is also looking forward to serving omnivores.

“We want people who are really meat-forward to come in and get something and think, ‘Hey, that was really good,’” she said.

Many items from Spirit Elephant will be offered at elephant + vine, including their best seller, cauli-wings. They come with a choice of buffalo, BBQ, Wasabi-Dijon or Mango-Chili sauce and are served with sesame seeds, ranch dressing (vegan, of course), celery and carrots. Young plans to introduce a buffalo chicken sandwich and chicken caesar salad.

Elephant + vine will also offer plant-forward food like rice bowls, salads, shakes and smoothies.

“We are really excited to be a part of the Evanston and Northwestern community. We can’t wait to open,” Young said.

Sam Stroozas is a reporter and the social media manager at the Evanston RoundTable. She covers small businesses, social justice and human interest stories. Contact her at and...

2 replies on “Vegan restaurant to open in Evanston”

  1. Great news! We are very excited to know Spirit Elephant is opening a vegan restaurant here in Evanston, and I hope other restaurants follow suit.

  2. Spirit Elephant, I like meat, but the food created at this restaurant is really tasty. I can’t wait for them to open in Evanston.

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