The Main-Dempster Mile’s diverse selection of culinary delights got a little richer this year with the opening of Evanston Pour, 528 Dempster St., in late February. One part local coffee hub, one part European wine bar, Evanston Pour has the welcoming atmosphere of a neighborhood Cheers.

An enthusiastic crowd of more than 50 people showed up Saturday afternoon to celebrate Evanston Pour’s official opening, with co-owner Jen Stumbaugh cutting the blue ribbon with comically large scissors provided by the Chamber of Commerce. Co-owners Mike Sieja, and Eric and Seren Payne and husband John Stumbaugh watched from the sidelines.

Family and friends celebrate Evanston Pour’s official opening on Saturday, July 30. Credit: Wendi Kromash

John Stumbaugh himself designed the interior space, as well as the Evanston Pour logo. Painted a rich blue, the walls elevate the formerly drab interior to a chic design, which works equally well for a casual daytime coffee klatsch or a cozy adults-only date night. Jen sourced many of the repurposed furniture pieces in the restaurant, including chairs from a church and other online finds.

In addition to the blue walls and chic molding, a rotating array of paintings by Evanston artists, provided through a partnership with Evanston Made, decorate the walls. Previously, works by Cie Bond added a beautiful punch of color to the walls; today, paintings feature works by Nina Weiss.  All the art is available for sale, with new art featured every four to six weeks.

John said the menu was designed by an Evanston-based food and beverage expert, and the wine selection was curated by the owner of the recently closed Vinic Wine Co. The venue offers a robust coffee and tea menu along with a selection of small plates, primarily salads and sandwiches, for hungry customers to munch on while working on laptops, conversing with friends or enjoying the weather at one of the eight blue outdoor tables. The beer menu includes selections on tap from Sketchbook, Temperance and other Chicago-area breweries, along with bottled beer. 

T-shirts featuring the Pour logo are available for sale at the counter, as well as Pour Pride T-shirts and buttons. The Stumbaugh’s daughter, Elya, designed the Evanston Pour Pride logo, and all proceeds from the Pour Pride T-shirts and buttons are donated to Evanston Pride.

A live performance on July 23 with singer-songwriter Al Day and pianist Bob Long was such a success that Pour owners are looking for new ways to use the space. Future possibilities include late-night hours to accommodate SPACE concert-goers and rental options for private functions or community events such as book groups or game nights.

Prior to the ribbon-cutting, the Stumbaughs thanked Mayor Biss, the Evanston City Council, the city’s Building and Inspection Services and the Evanston Chamber of Commerce for their help and support.

With so many businesses closing during the past two years because of COVID-related confinement, a new culinary spot in the center of the Main-Dempster Mile is something to celebrate.

Wendi Kromash

Wendi Kromash is curious about everything and will write about anything. She tends to focus on one-on-one interviews with community leaders, recaps and reviews of cultural events, feature stories about...

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