Mas Salud, 720 Clark St., will open this winter and serve tapas-style Mexican food. “It is like Central American Fusion,” co-owner Michael Melnik said. He and partner Ryan Ato opened a “to go” location of Mas Salud in Chicago in May, 2021.

They planned a larger and slightly more upscale version for the Evanston location and moved into the building which used to house Clarke’s Restaurant.

Mas Salud recently had its liquor license approved and Melnik had hoped to open in early November. However, city staff temporarily stopped construction when it was discovered Melnik and Ato had begun work on a patio on the side of the building without a permit.

“I thought it was OK, because it was on the side of the building and the landlord was OK with it,” Melnik said, noting it set them back almost two months. They now hope to move forward with a soft opening at the beginning of December. The grand-opening will be end of December or early January. “There will be a bar in the front and three different seating areas, each with a different feel to them,” Melnik noted. 

LeTour countdown

It’s not yet officially opened yet but reviews are coming in for LeTour, 625 Davis St. which will officially open on Thursday, Nov. 17 for lunch. Kayak has posted this: “Abundance abounds at LeTour, Amy Morton’s newest eatery, a decidedly American Brasserie in Downtown Evanston. James Beard Awarded Chef Debbie Gold’s menu is a modern take on classic French fare with signature Moroccan dishes and influences. The airy-open space seemlessly morphs between cocktail bar, dining room and event space. The vibe is ‘Andy Warhol on the French Riviera.’ We are big, bold, and buzzy.”

Main Street neighbors … You can now rest assured that the noisiest part of construction on the old Vogue Fabric store site has concluded. Weeks of construction still remain, but the noise level will be decibels lower. A similar change has occurred on Clark Street. The old Burger King building has been torn down and the corner now looks curiously empty. 

Clean Team starts Monday … Related to city business, I have heard that the city has a “Clean Team” comprised of a crew of six team members and a supervisor. Their task is tidying up the city’s business districts throughout Evanston, as well as welcoming shoppers and business people. They started Nov.14 and are funded with $500,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). 

Starbucks, 2114 Central St. to close at the end of November Credit: Susy Schultz

Starbucks on Central Street to close …But there is sad news on Central Street for those of you who like Starbucks coffee: the 2114 Central St. location is closing. The Starbucks press center did not reply to my inquiry, but a store employee confirmed it will be closing at the end of this month. 

Metra painting … In terms of beautifying our business districts, Metra contractors, who had been painting the bridge carrying the Union Pacific North Line at Davis Street for several weeks, have now moved down to Dempster Street. The paint that had been chipping is being removed and new protective coatings are being applied. This will lead to some traffic delays and as of Saturday, some of the traffic was being rerouted one way. Each lane is expected to be affected for two weeks. 

Harith Razaa and assistant Bella Chiocca outside of Comfort Desserts. Credit: Wendi Kromash

Comfort Desserts Reimagined … When I stopped by at 517 Dempster St. on Saturday, owner Harith Razaa shared that he is hoping to leave the store to a new proprietor by the end of the year. That is, if he can come to an agreement with the prospective new baker, a German/Iranian woman who was trained as a Konditorin in Germany. There, you can do an apprenticeship to become a baker, but you can also go through an apprenticeship to become a Konditor or Konditor*in (not a mistake here – this is the German way of noting both genders) , in which case you specialize in baking cakes, pastries and other sweet delights. It sounds like the selection at Comfort Desserts might change under new ownership, so if you love Razaa’s specialties you might want to head to the store soon. Orders for Thanksgiving are due now. 

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.

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  1. Let’s hope the Clean Team can do something about the Maple Ave. Parking facility across from the Theaters and World Market. The elevators and window glass are perennially smudged and dirty and the rest looks none too clean. I get nervous touching the ticket machines. There is usually no one in the garage office.