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Best of



2 Best of Evanston

Friday, February 28, 2014


1629 Orrington Ave. Best NEW RESTAURANT

BAT 17 1709 Benson Ave.

Best EVANSTON RESTAURANT In the only category to return from last year, the defending champion has retained its crown. Call Bat 17 the Miami Heat of Best of Evanston, it’s definitely a deserving two-time champ. What sets the restaurant apart is its consistency across the board, with solid-togreat options in its chicken, beef, pork and vegetarian sections of the menu, as well as beer sizes ranging from glass to tower. And it didn’t rest on its laurels after last


622 Davis St. best food you later regret

year’s win either, adding an expansion with the largest picture of Pat Fitzgerald any of us have ever seen and a comfortable bar that won’t remind anyone of The Keg but is a fun, late-night hangout spot. There wasn’t much drama here; tune in next year as Bat goes for the three-peat. — Joseph Diebold


It seemed like a good idea at the time. The idea, Cheesie’s; the time, of course, 3 a.m. There is, perhaps, nothing better than a late-night escapade for a monumental grilled cheese sandwich. You sit upright in the colorful restaurant, surrounded by your raucous friends as well as Northwestern heroes like Stephen Colbert and Mike Wilbon. Then you bite into the glorious combination of gooey cheese, hot sauce, crunchy bacon, crispy fried chicken tenders, tangy barbecue sauce and creamy ranch dressing in a Tenderizer, an experience that is made all the better by its nighttime context. But there is, perhaps, nothing worse than the morning after the adventure. You lie, half-naked on your side, surrounded by your other friends, Netflix and bed sheets, as that ungodly combination of ingredients sits in your stomach, marinating alongside the contents of several packets of Capri Sun (because what other restaurant sells juice concentrate drinks in foil pouches?) mocking your ability to make decisions at 3 a.m. But in the end, it is so worth it.

I can’t remember when I discovered that I love Joy Yee’s Pad Thai. But I can remember when it became the only thing I ever ordered from there, or when I realized it was a once-a-week treat-yo-self kind of meal. As a vegetarian, there are a lot of Thai food options for me, but pad thai is my go-to, and Joy Yee’s takes the cake in this category. The best part? If you’re not too hungry, the serving size will leave you with enough pad thai noms for at least two days, which for the price of $7.95 is a bargain. But if you’re like me, and you can’t resist the comfort of pad thai, you’ll probably eat it all anyway. In my experience, you get a larger serving size when I eat in the restaurant itself, so that’s something to keep in mind. There’s admittedly a lot of pad thai in Evanston, but the serving size, fast delivery and perfect savory-sweet combo is what sets it a part for me. If you like added flavor and texture, be sure to add the peanuts and bean sprouts on top, as well as a squeeze of lime to bring out the flavors. Joy Yee’s pad thai is perfect for any occasion, too!

— Julian Gerez

— Paulina Firozi


WORLD OF BEER 1601 sherman Ave.

Choosing your favorite or best beer is like asking people to choose their favorite song. There are different beers for different moods — how can you pick just one? That’s what makes World of Beer so great. It has every beer for every mood. Did you just return from your study abroad and you’re still acting like you’re better than everyone else? Here’s something from the Spain section. Are you trying to hide your disdain for beer but still maintain society’s perception of a real man? Here’s an Abita Purple Haze, made with berries! World of Beer is the best beer in Evanston not because you go there and order the same thing every time. It’s

the best beer in Evanston because it adapts to how you’re feeling in that moment. When you mix in the weekly trivia nights or the occasional Appomattox Trap House concert, the race for best beer really becomes a no contest. So sit back, relax and take a look at the menu. Maybe you just texted your side piece, “You up?” and she hasn’t responded in three days. Maybe you passed your last final. Either way, World of Beer has just the thing to get you through another day. — Rohan Nadkarni

The concept seems so obvious you wonder why it didn’t exist before: “Mediterranean Chipotle.” But for fans of the Chicago-area chain, Naf Naf ’s arrival on Orrington Avenue was long overdue. Like national chain Roti, Naf Naf offers a variety of pita, rice and grilled meat options, but it sets itself apart with its authenticity and nailing the little things, including the pleasant addition of pickles, a rare find among most Mediterranean restaurants. With a full meal (and some to take home) running you less than $10 and all the options you could ask for, Naf Naf stood out from a crowded field which included the swankier but pricier Found and Farmhouse and competitor Olive Mediterranean Grill. — Joseph Diebold

It is difficult, and I m a burger from Edzo’s. I r the three basic Edzo’s fo and fries –– so I plan ou ing french fries, which crave the beautiful gold come straight from the Edzo’s offers fries at a ity. The menu starts wit a large), a nice complim own right. The great thi as far as I’m concerned A near-perfect mix from someone who pr go wrong when the bas


1629 Orrington Ave. Best MEDITERRANEAN

Since opening a few months ago, Naf Naf Grill has become the place for Northwestern students and Evanston residents alike to get a quick Mediterranean bite. With a vibrant ambiance, fast food set up and fresh ingredients, Naf Naf Grill finds the perfect balance between customer convenience and satisfaction. Conveniently located on Orrington Avenue, the Mediterranean eatery offers made-to-order shawarma, falafel and kabab. Unlike Olive Mediterranean Grill’s pre-determined sandwiches, Naf Naf allows you to pick and choose what you include in your pita. Naf Naf gives you the benefit of choice and can satisfy both vegetarians and meat-lovers. The restaurant also prides itself on the freshness of its ingredients and without a doubt they excel in this category. From the handmade pita to the vegetables, Naf Naf makes you forget you’re eating fast food. With reasonable prices, Naf Naf is also the perfect option for college students running on thin budgets with sandwiches running for less than $7.00. It’s safe to say that Naf Naf is a very welcomed addition to the Evanston restaurant scene. — Tyler Pager

Jimmy john’s

1729 Sherman ave. Fastest delivery

Someone needs to pin a medal on the Jimmy John’s delivery guys, who zip up and down Sheridan Road in skintight spandex, delivering subs like some sort of sandwich speed demon. It’s no surprise the sandwich chain that boasts “freaky fast delivery” takes the cake for, well, fastest delivery. Even in the middle of a polar vortex, these brave souls navigate the patches of black ice and the sidewalks that no one shovels to bring food to your door in a matter of minutes. So, next time you’re craving a sub, skip the lines elsewhere and place your order at Jimmy John’s. These guys are so quick, they can receive your order, make your sub and bike to your location — all in the time it would take you to get through the line at the Subway in Norris. — Devan Coggan

bar louie

Best Drink Specials



DESIGN EDITORS: N Keuren, Mandella


WRITERS: DEVAN CO PAULINA FIROZI, julian glatter, PAIGE LES ally mutnick, rohan PAGER, huzaifa patel wallace, Amy whyte

photoGRAPHERS: melody song, amy w

Friday, February 28, 2014

Best of Evanston 3

FOODS Graphic by Jordan Harrison/The Daily Northwestern


1571 Sherman Ave. best french fries

mean really, really difficult to get just rarely have the money to splurge on oodgroups –– the milkshake, burger ut my trips. But when I’m just cravhappens almost every day, I always den shards of potato perfection that e Edzo’s kitchen. a range of price, taste and complexth the small, $2 basic fry ($3.25 for mentary side or a great snack in its ing about Edzo’s fry is their texture, d. of pliable and firm –– and this is refers a crisper fry –– it’s hard to sics are so right. The plain fries are

savory and not too oily, but pleasantly greasy to remind you you’re eating good quality, down home comfort fast food. But the menu only gets better from there. Edzo’s offers nine different iterations of its basic fry, from the necessary cheese fries to the delicious garlic fries to “Taylor Street Fridas,” a recipe that involves Italian beef gravy that’s clearly aimed at the native-Chicago crowd. My personal favorite are Edzo’s truffle tries, which are sprinkled with parmesan cheese. These fries go perfectly with any burger and after eating them, you’ll be happy Edzo’s is now open for dinner –– you’re going to want these babies at least twice a day.

707 CHURCH St. BEST GLUTEN-FREE With the diagnosis of Celiac disease and the popularity of the glutenfree diet both on the rise, Flat Top Grill has proved itself best at serving to the growing gluten-free audience. The restaurant’s menu is headlined by an extensive create-your-own stir-fry option, which allows customers to customize their dishes however they please for a fixed price. The stir-fry bar allows for thousands of unique dishes with its abundance of ingredients: rice, noodles, any kind of vegetable you could want, homemade sauces and a mix of proteins. It’s a big competition to see who can stack their bowl the highest without spilling the contents. Before the chef cooks up your food, you can select different colored sticks to denote you want extras—soups, lettuce wraps, cheese, and this flat bread that is highly popular with my non-


NOVA HOU, Virginia Van andella Younge


OGGAN, joseph diebold, julian gerez, hayley SKIN, tanner maxwell, rohan nadkarni, tYLER patel, ALEX PUTTERMAN, ava hyte, ALICE YIN

joseph diebold, sean hong, whyte, ina yang, skylar zhang

707 Church st. best place for a group dinner Just about every Friday night for the past three years I’ve been at Northwestern, I’ve gone to dinner with a large group of friends. We like variety and aren’t very decisive, so each week it’s a struggle to find a place willing to host anywhere up to 25 people on such short notice. On nights when we can’t decide where to go, I take my group of friends to Flat Top. Although busy on Friday nights, on multiple occasions I’ve been able to call an hour in advance and get a group table with absolutely no problem. On one occasion 20 of us were able to get in without a reservation with – get this – only a five-minute wait. Flat Top also proves to be a crowd-pleaser. Like other

make-your-own stir fry restaurants, Flat Top’s flexibility allows everyone to be satisfied, including your weird vegetarian friend who only eats dairy after 6 p.m. Your friends can take as much time as needed to build their perfect bowl. Dealing with the bill is also a pretty simple affair, considering everyone will likely order the same thing: one round of make-your-own stir fry. Flat Top’s Wildcard discount also mitigates any extra gratuity fees, making your meal a reasonable $10. — Tanner Maxwell

— Ava Wallace



Flat Top

Celiac friends. But, selecting a white stick tells the chef you have a dietary restriction, and he’ll make your food in a pan separate from the hibachi-style grill where all the other stir-fry creations are cooked. If you’re Celiac like me, your biggest fear when going out to eat is not knowing the ingredients in dishes and how the food is made in the kitchen. Among all the places with gluten-free options in Evanston, this is the only restaurant where you actually watch your food being made, so you can be 100 percent sure you won’t wake up tomorrow having your usual symptoms when you consume any gluten. You’re not forced to play it safe by ordering the salad, nor do you have to miss out on a fun dinner out with your friends because you’re unsure if you can eat anything on the menu. Flat Top allows you to recapture that freedom to eat that you haven’t experienced since before you were diagnosed with your gluten allergy.

— Paige Leskin

andy’s FROZEN Church st. CUSTARD 719Best dessert Selecting Andy’s as Evanston’s “Best Dessert” is selling the frozen custard shop short. Andy’s is more than just custard in your mouth, Andy’s is Evanston’s best dessert experience. The diner-feel, old school style and friendly staff gives Andy’s the atmosphere of a true small-town hangout. With all the razzle-dazzle of Chicago to the south, and expensive lake-shore homes just to our north, Andy’s is a piece of middle America where everyone is equal. Even us liberal elitists need a break sometimes. The menu at Andy’s, of course, delivers. Floats, shakes and freezes give you endless ways to drink your custard let alone eat it. Jackhammers, sundaes and concretes allow you to unleash your inner human. Not child — human. Because Andy’s appeals to every single person on this planet. That explains why every one there is always so happy. Whether it’s the nervous couple finishing their first date or a mock trial group celebrating its last night of the quarter, it’s impossible to avoid smiles at Andy’s. One day, 25 years from now, when the Best of Evanston morphs into a Hunger Games-type contest amongst niche burger restaurants, we’ll still have Andy’s, for ourselves, our parents and our kids, to enjoy a simple Evanston afternoon. — Rohan Nadkarni




1000 Davis St. Best BAKERY

1571 sherman ave. Best customer service

622 Davis St. Best drunchies

For the sweet tooth, there is nothing like Bennison’s. Upon entrance, customers are greeted by looming rows of multi-layer cakes topped by an assortment of sugar frosting roses and icing ribbons. Almost every possible baked good is present. Macaroons painted with delicate shades of lilac and rose pink line the top shelf. Pieces of custard, éclairs, lemon bars, and marzipan lie there sumptuously, soon to be settled in a hungry student’s stomach. Besides the overwhelming surfeit of dessert, there is also a tray of fresh breakfast pastries and croissants. Loaves of lush bread are assorted on top of the counter. A faint whiff of coffee and mocha floats around the corner for washing down bites of cake and glazing. For both last-minute treats and indulgences for a friend’s birthday, cupcakes wearing decorated coats of colored icing are waiting to be consumed. It is a dentist’s worst nightmare, and a student’s favorite guilty pleasure. With two certified Master Bakers and a guarantee of fresh ingredients such as eggs and buttermilk, Bennison’s is the prime choice for a college student’s Freshman 15.

Even with a line that stretches to the front door during the lunch rush, Edzo’s has fast food down pat. The line, which can be daunting to the casual Edzo’s diner, moves quickly, and the cashiers are efficient, friendly and helpful if you’re stuck between meal choices. It’s easy to develop a repertoire with the guys behind the register — I always get the feeling they genuinely care about my Edzo’s experience, but you certainly won’t hold up the people in line behind you with meaningless chatter. Like I said, Edzo’s knows how to handle a lunch rush. The cooks behind the counter work just as fast as their cashier counterparts, and being able to watch the affable staff joke around with each other gives Edzo’s a warm-and-fuzzy, mom-and-pop burger shop feeling that’s so appealing on a cold winter’s day. Also important: my order always comes out perfectly at Edzo’s. In two-and-a-half years, the Edzo’s staff has perfectly executed each (sometimes complicated) order without a hitch. Bottom line: I know I can depend on Edzo’s to be a clean and friendly environment with efficient service. That’s enough to make me go back for a second milkshake.

After a night filled with solo cups and house music, nothing hits the spot quite like Cheesie’s. As one of Evanston’s few late night offerings, Cheesie’s is a drunken college student’s dream, complete with gooey gourmet grilled cheese and a social post-game atmosphere. Its low-priced menu is a masterpiece of alcoholinduced carb loading, including sandwiches stuffed with mac and cheese (The Mac), french fries (The Frenchie) and chicken tenders (The Tenderizer). Its appetizers are mouth-wateringly indulgent, including such guilty pleasure morsels as fried pickles and cheese curds. The perfect final destination after an evening of bar- and party-hopping, Cheesie’s is even outfitted with its own bar for those trying to keep the party going a little longer. And for those unwilling to brave the polar vortex, no need to fear — Cheesie’s delivers.

— Alice Yin

— Alex Putterman

— Amy Whyte

4 Best of Evanston

Friday, February 28, 2014

BEST PEOPLE-WATCHING SPOT 1999 CAMPUS DRIVE Without getting too sentimental, I’ll say that Norris is my favorite spot on campus. Not just because I am the most loyal customer to Starbucks/Norbucks you’ve ever met and have a new-found appreciation for Hazelnut Macchioatos, and not just because I live in the offices of The Daily, but because Norris is a place to get inspired. People-watching is taken to another level when you’re in Norris. It’s not just a great place to overhear strange conversations about how cold it is outside, or how someone’s night at La Macchina went, but it’s a place to watch and listen


as Northwestern student’s brilliant wheels turn. The couches and chairs next to Norbucks and on the ground floor are great places to meet with a group for a class project, but it’s the third floor of Norris that stands out for me. It’s where a lot of student groups have their offices and meetings and find themselves deep into the night. The brightest minds and most amazing groups are found strutting around on the third floor like they own the place. Associated Student Government, Dance Marathon, the many many theatre groups who have more talent in one pinkie than I have in my whole body — more than anything, the students that work in these groups are my peers, and Norris is where you can see them hard at work and be inspired to do the same. — Paulina Firozi

BEST Locations

October 5, 2013 was the ultimate example of what Ryan Field can be. With ESPN’s College Gameday in town for a showdown with Ohio State, energy was soaring. The student section filled up beyond its 5,000-person capacity, and everyone in it donned purple and chanted for their school. The Wildcats delivered an impressive performance and a dramatic (though unsatisfying) ending, leaving an entire student body glowing with pride. Even if not every game lives up to those impossible standards, Ryan Field provides a consistently enjoyable football-viewing experience. The student section is close to field with clear sightlines, and the athletic department’s recent decision to move it across the field means more TV time for students. Overall, Ryan Field is the place on campus that cultivates the most school spirit. It’s truly an essential NU experience to stand on those bleachers (preferably when it’s warm) and lose half your voice yelling on the opposing team’s third downs with your claw in the air — even if you don’t know what “third down” means and think the claw thing is kind of goofy. You don’t have to like football to enjoy Ryan Field. You just have to like Northwestern.



There is nothing quite like the bone-chilling winds of a polar vortex to make you remember what’s really important in life. Coffee, for instance, is clearly a necessity, so it’s no surprise Starbucks is Evanston’s best location to wait out subzero temperatures. With a sprawling store filled with comfortable couches, friendly baristas and ample study space, Starbucks is the perfect place to cozy up until a bout of bad weather subsides. With a newly expanded food and wine menu, you could theoretically avoid going outside and eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and multiple snacks inside Starbucks. Also, hiding from the arctic tundra is the perfect opportunity to try out a new drink you may have been hesitant about before. Plus, with thousands of drink options, it’s not like your palate will get bored while you wait for a spring that may never actually arrive. The store’s relaxed atmosphere also makes it conducive to waiting out a polar vortex. The mellow lighting and pseudohipster playlists make Starbucks a great place to catch up with some frozen friends or catch up on some homework. Chilling out while you warm up is best accomplished at Evanston’s Starbucks, making the global coffee powerhouse quite the winner.

— Alex Putterman

BEST NEW RETAIL OUTLET 1211 CHICAGO AVE. Students have their issues with Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, but few have said it better than her when, upon the opening of the city’s first Trader Joe’s, she proclaimed, “I did not get to be the mayor of the city of Evanston by stopping people from shopping at Trader Joe’s, so I promise a very brief speech.” The California-based grocery store opened its first Evanston location in September, bringing its trademark $3 wine, organic foods and easy-to-make frozen meals to 1211 Chicago Ave. Though it sits tantalizingly out of walking distance from campus, if you have a car or can scrounge a ride from someone, it’s well worth the mile-long journey south and well deserving of best new retail outlet. Though the produce doesn’t compare to the more expensive Whole Foods and you won’t find the name brands of Jewel-Osco and the recently departed Dominick’s (may it rest in peace), the combination of prices and unique, delicious offerings is hard to beat. At any one time, my freezer is now a beautiful collage of taquitos, dumplings and pad thai just three minutes away from turning into a meal. And if you haven’t tried it yet, the pretzel crisp/cookie butter combination is changing the snack game for good, so hop on the bandwagon.

— Hayley Glatter



— Joseph Diebold

Graphic by Elizabeth Santoro/The Daily Northwestern





Among the only convenience stores located within walking distance from campus, CVS/Pharmacy is the car-less college student’s go-to for just about everything — making participation in the chain’s ExtraCare program an absolute essential. Ownership of an ExtraCare card grants shoppers access to special deals and daily coupons that customers can print out simply by scanning their card upon entry into the store. Those benefits alone would be enough incentive to enroll (for free!) in the ExtraCare program, but they aren’t the only advantages to the tiny red card so many NU students carry on their keychains. ExtraCare shoppers can rack up ExtraBucks — in-store dollars to be spent on any item of the customer’s choice — by buying specifically marked items or even just filling prescriptions. BeautyClub allows ExtraCare customers to earn ExtraBucks simply by buying makeup. The program even has a philanthropic side, offering additional benefits to customers who have diabetes. Without an ExtraCare card, shopping at CVS can get a bit pricey — but with it, the savings will add up.

Fit Girl Studio and Evanston Athletic Club don’t give a free membership to every Northwestern student so it’s little wonder the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion snagged best workout. More commonly known as SPAC, the facility is huge, complete with a three-lane indoor track, six tennis courts and two free-weight rooms. It even boasts a private beach and an outdoor sundeck. But SPAC’s best asset might be its class schedule. The gym offers several instructor-led workouts throughout the day, so it’s easy to squeeze in a Body Pump between classes. Most importantly, SPAC offers Zumba four days a week. With friendly, energetic instructors and catchy songs, it’s a workout that barely feels like you’re working out. Classes are often packed so it’s easy to hide in the back if you aren’t the best dancer. And if you are look to brush up on your pop dance moves, check out the WERQ class offered on Wednesdays. Like Zumba but with Top 40 music, WERQ equips you with pre-prepared dance routines whenever you turn on the radio.

— Amy Whyte

— Ally Mutnick

Conveniently located on Sherman Avenue just minutes from the Northwestern campus, the Evanston Starbucks is known not only for its world-famous coffee, but also its user friendly technology. The cafe offers updated Google Wi-Fi access that is 10 times faster than the previous AT&T service, making it a prime work spot and study area for Northwestern students and Evanston residents alike. There are also numerous charging stations located around the store, making it easy for customers to plug in laptops and mobile devices. Starbucks allows for mobile payment through the Starbucks app, which gives customers the option of paying with their Starbucks Card while accumulating Stars in the My Starbucks Rewards program. Another mobile app offered by Evanston Starbucks is Square Wallet, which lets customers pay with their credit or debit card. — Huzaifa Patel

Best of Evanston 2014 — The Daily Northwestern  
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