Don’t ask for seconds

Chris Kirkham

Gluttony won’t be a sin committed at the newest addition to the “Dining Capital of the North Shore.”

Famine Restaurant, 0001 Davis St., serves a variety of traditional African dishes to those customers “starving for the real thing.” Entrees range from the famed banana peel of Sierra Leone to the beloved beans and sauce of Kenya.

Or so one would think.

Famine is listed in an online restaurant guide alongside traditional Evanston fare like Chipotle and Merle’s Barbecue. But fans of the meager portions offered at Famine will be disappointed.

The restaurant is just Web designer Andrew Lehman’s idea of a practical joke.

“I thought it would be something strange,” Lehman said. “I figured it would attract attention.”

Lehman’s Evanston-based design company creates Web sites such as evanstonillinois.net, where Famine is featured, but he also designs satire sites.

The design for Famine’s site, at eastsidemall.com/famine/famine.html, was one such satire.

“The idea came mostly from disgust with this culture’s attitude toward other cultures,” Lehman said. “I was trying to make a point that there are more important things than a local fancy restaurant.”

So while Famine might appear to be an upscale, three-star establishment, don’t call to make reservations.

This isn’t because Famine doesn’t want business, but rather because the phone number listed is that of the Republican National Committee in Washington.

Even Lehman didn’t have an answer for that, saying he didn’t remember putting that phone number on the Web site.

The Republican National Committee could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Famine might not take reservations or serve food, but it’s popular enough to a warrant a chain.

The Evanston restaurant is the second Famine location. The original restaurant, also featured on the site, is at 7200 E. Madison St. in Chicago — the location of Lehman’s non-existent “Eastside Mall.”

“It’s obviously a fictitious location,” he said. “It’s in the middle of Lake Michigan.”