Big Bite Nite draws crowds to Evanston eateries

Oliver Ortega

Northwestern students participating in Sunday’s Big Bite Nite got to try Evanston restaurant favorites from deep dish pizza to Thai noodles from 32 local establishments.

The event was hosted by NU’s Associated Student Government and Downtown Evanston, a nonprofit organization that provides marketing and management services for the city. ASG promoted the event through a Facebook event page, flyers and a table at the Norris activities fair on Sept. 19.

This year’s participants were given a card with a quick response code for a new mobile app called Sweet Perk, which provides users with coupons and deals for downtown Evanston restaurants throughout the year.

Many of the students in attendance were returning participants of Big Bite Nite.

Communication sophomore Lynn Hong said knowing all the restaurants allowed her to “have a better plan” for obtaining free food. She said last year’s event helped solidify her dining preferences.

“Last year, Cozy definitely impressed me,” Hong said. “It’s become my favorite.”

However, not all past participants returned. Joel Oliver Recinto, manager of Chipotle, 711 Church St., said although the restaurant participated in Big Bite Nite in the past, it will instead host its own event later this month. Recinto said he feels this option will be more lucrative.

“I wanted to be separate from the other restaurants and make it an event for just us,” Recinto said.

ASG spokeswoman Laurel Stankus said she felt it was important to expose freshmen to Evanston and its dining options.

“We pushed for freshmen to know about the event so that they can learn about the city they live in,” said Stankus, a Medill senior.

Weinberg and Bienen freshman Adam Rothenberg said he enjoyed the event and found it useful.

“I can get a feel for all the restaurants and know where we want to go for a meal,” he said.

The presence of a large number of participating restaurants echoed Tiny Dog Cupcake owner Rob Mockard’s view on the importance of attracting a student clientele. The bakery, located at 616 Davis St., opened last Thanksgiving and now offers free Wi-Fi and extended hours in an effort to appeal to more students.

“We’re trying to be more of a student destination,” Mockard said.

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