(Editor’s note: Please welcome our new business columnist Isabelle Reiniger, who is making Evanston’s businesses, her business. Feel free to send Isabelle a tip, a tidbit or whatever information you have about Evanston’s businesses. She will check it out. Thank you! Send it to isabelle.reiniger@me.com)


This new column will highlight business developments in Evanston. Usually we’ll focus on new businesses but we’ll also look at businesses that are closing. 

Hispanic American Heritage Month and the Evanston Public Library

I want to start with highlighting an Evanston Library program that runs Sept. 21 to Oct. 15. It is designed to draw attention to and support Latinx businesses in Evanston in honor of National Hispanic American Heritage Month. As of Wednesday, Sept. 21, you will be able to pick up a punch card at one of our two library locations. 

The card will list Hispanic American businesses and you are asked to visit at least three of these, purchase something and ask to have your card signed. Alternatively you can ask staff a trivia question and jot down the answer. Once you have visited three businesses, return to the library with your card and you can enter a raffle to win a $25 gift card. 

5411 Gourmet Empanadas at 809 Davis St. is a new business that is participating in the library program. It opened in May in the Sherman Plaza between ATI Physical Therapy and the parking garage. “Business was good in the beginning,” according to Nicolas Ibarzabal, one of the owners, “it slowed down over the summer, but has started to pick-up over the past two weeks.” 

The Evanston location is focused on take out but provides a few tables if people want to sit and eat. 5411 was named after the code used to call Buenos Aires, Argentina. Both Ibarzabal and co-owner Mariano Lanfranconi are from Argentina and came to the Chicago area for graduate school. But they knew each other before coming to the U.S. The initial location was on Clark Street in Chicago. Prior to the pandemic they had five Chicago locations, but closed two during the pandemic.

The move to Evanston was in part related to Ibarzabal attending graduate school at Northwestern University. “I find the community really welcoming,” he said about Evanston and added that he was excited about being part of the library program. 


Unrelated to the library program, we wanted to mention that EGEA spa has closed. Apparently, the closure happened on such short notice that some patrons went there for an appointment to find the doors closed. I was not able to get in touch with the owner. However, there is a message on the website from the owner who took over the business late last year. The owner notes both health problems and financial liabilities that have led to the closing. It appears that there are negotiations with three potential new owners.

Isabelle Reiniger

Isabelle Reiniger, LCSW is a writer and psychotherapist in private practice in Evanston. She reports on local businesses opening and closing for the Evanston RoundTable. Reach Isabelle at isabelle.reiniger@me.com.

Join the Conversation

4 Comments

The RoundTable will try to post comments within a few hours, but there may be a longer delay at times. Comments containing mean-spirited, libelous or ad hominem attacks will not be posted. Your full name and email is required. We do not post anonymous comments. Your e-mail will not be posted.

Your email address will not be published.

  1. The excellent massage parlor and related wellness programs, EGEA, closed suddenly when I got a call from the new owner that he was suffering from :
    “terminal cancer” and he was terminating the business. It has been shuttered and closed since then with no sign of reopening. The business still has a lot of money from customers (eg me) who purchased package deals on services. Can you give an update on the future of EGEA and whether we should all get a lawyer to sue for the money it still holds?

    1. Isabelle wrote this item at the end of her column:
      “Unrelated to the library program, we wanted to mention that EGEA spa has closed. Apparently, the closure happened on such short notice that some patrons went there for an appointment to find the doors closed. I was not able to get in touch with the owner. However, there is a message on the website from the owner who took over the business late last year. The owner notes both health problems and financial liabilities that have led to the closing. It appears that there are negotiations with three potential new owners.”

  2. My wife is hispanic. She & her family think “latinx” is a total joke that’s also condescending to people of hispanic heritage. Stop with this woke nonsense; this is one of the attitudinal reasons many hispanic Americans are gravitating to the Republican party.

    1. Thank you for your comment but I will pushback and say none of this is “woke” which is really often thrown at people this days as a political insult. (Although I’m sure you did not mean it that way.) It is a thoughtful navigation through changing terms that not everyone agrees upon. The library’s card refers to supporting “Latinex businesses” during “Hispanic Heritage Month” which is covering all bases. But the community of Latinex and/or Hispanic people is not a monolith. The term of Hispanic is deeply offensive to some because it was developed by the U.S. government to classify all Spanish-speakers into one large group, despite the great diversity of cultures in the Spanish-speaking world. So, really there is no specific “heritage” associated with Hispanics — is that Mexican, Guatemalan, Columbian, Peruvian, Puerto Rican? Latinex is also a problem. It is meant to remove the gender from a language that classifies almost everything by gender. It allows people who don’t identify as one gender or another to be included. But some think it leaves out people from outside the Latin American world. It’s a rather murky area here. One term does not work for all. Nor is this a partisan issue that allows anyone to classify people in one party or another because of which term they choose. It is an issue of respect and that is how we approach it. Our basic guide for terms is the Associated Press Style guide, which also cautions respect as these terms are evolving. Susy Schultz, editor