New bar to open in June

Ryan Maldonado

If the saying “Two’s company, three’s a crowd” holds true, one of the bars on the corner of Grove Street and Sherman Avenue might have to pack up and head elsewhere.

But according to a spokeswoman for Bar Louie, 1520 Sherman Ave., Evanston’s newest bar and grill, there won’t be much of a crowd for another month.

Despite shooting for a May opening, the bar’s debut has been delayed until early June, said Lisa Lathouris, a spokeswoman for the Restaurant Development Group, which owns Bar Louie.

Lathouris said several of the group’s other projects, such as a new Bar Louie at 1321 W. Taylor St. and two other openings in the Chicago area, have delayed the opening in Evanston. She also attributed the setback to the “usual red tape” found when opening a business.

“We had other projects we were dealing with,” Lathouris said. “There’s a million and one standards we need to fulfill for every restaurant – sometimes one takes longer than others. The Taylor Street (Bar Louie) was progressing quicker, so we switched our focus there.”

Despite the delay, which will cause the Evanston location to open during the last days of the Northwestern academic year, Lathouris said she expects the new Bar Louie to do as well as it has in Chicago.

“It will be a natural transition given the universal appeal of the concept (of bar-frequenting),” she said. “Louie is your everyday person, he or she can be anyone, making Bar Louie a place that anyone can go to and enjoy themselves.”

Construction began in early September for the new bar located between two of Evanston’s better-known bars, The Keg of Evanston, 810 Grove St., and Tommy Nevin’s Pub, 1450 Sherman Ave.

“We speculate that the addition of Louie will add another dimension to that corner,” Lathouris said.

Tom Migon, owner of the Keg, expressed similar enthusiasm about the added competition at the corner of Sherman and Grove.

“I think it will create more business for everybody in the area,” he said. “They should do very well.”

Anna Stanard, general manager at Nevin’s, said the popular Chicago bar will not take customers away.

“The more, the merrier – places like that will bring more people to Evanston,” Stanard said. “Competition is good, and we put a lot more emphasis on food than they do.”

Bar Louie is run by RDG, which is owned by North Shore residents Roger Greenfield and Ted Kasemir. In addition to seven other bars in Chicago, RDG has plans to expand the chain in Tempe, Ariz., Lathouris said.

The bar and grill boasts a jumbo martini menu and signature sandwiches.

“We mainly specialize in martini drinks,” said Robbie Myer, manager of the Bar Louie in Lincoln Park. “We’re an upscale, casual bar – definitely not a sports bar – but on the TVs that we do have we play sports.”

The creators of Bar Louie intend that each bar and grill resembles the town where it is located. Lathouris said the same will happen in Evanston.

“You can expect the standard Louie characteristics,” she said. “We might have some martinis on the list like the ‘Wildcat,’ but expect (the) standard bar.”

In Wrigleyville, the bar’s rear wall features a giant mural painted from the perspective of someone sitting in the nosebleed section of a packed Wrigley Field.

The bar’s atmosphere, its “ode to the Cubs” design and its blaring pop-music is intended to appeal to the 20-to-40 crowd that swarms in at noon.

“Each Bar Louie has a tradition of catering to the neighborhood they’re in,” said Rick Van Buren, a manager of the Wrigleyville bar. “We try out several menu items to see if customers give a good response.”

Lathouris said Evanston’s Bar Louie already has hired a managerial staff and will begin taking applications for the house and kitchen staffs later this month.