New pizza restaurant opens on Central Street

Susan Du

Three-week-old Just 8 is one of north Central Street’s newest small businesses, but it would be hard to find if you didn’t know where to look.

Although the sign above the door at 2924 Central St, bears the name Curt’s Cafe, the cafe only utilizes the location for half the day. The pizza and cookie restaurant takes over at 3 p.m., offering a compact menu of eight pizzas and eight cookie selections.

The point of keeping it simple is quality over quantity, the owners said.

Co-owners Ian Proctor, David Singham and Trevor Trieschmann are recent college graduates and longtime friends who grew up playing soccer together in Evanston. They attended college in various parts of the country and received degrees in a variety of fields, but they reunited to bring a shared dream to fruition.

“We thought it was something that north Evanston was missing,” Proctor said. “There was no pizza place, there was no real hangout and no place with made-to-order cookies. No place to have live music. So we just figured it was something this area was missing and we thought we could do.”

Singham said Just 8 will soon have its own sign outside the establishment. He also said he hoped once the restaurant receives its liquor license, it will become a summer destination for young Evanstonians to hang out, listen to live music and eat food concocted by their peers.

“Most of our business that’s not from people around (Central Street) is our friends that we grew up with, so people come in and buy pizzas,” Singham said. “We know lots of people who grew up here in Evanston, or a lot live in Chicago, but they’ll still come up here and support us.”

Kevin McCarthy, 21, is an Evanston resident and friend of the owners. He said young adult businesspeople are struggling just as much, if not more, in the current economy as established entrepreneurs.

“I know other people who have at this age gone and tried to do this,” McCarthy said. “And some of it’s worked and some of it hasn’t. But I think the most important thing is knowing what your market is and it seems like these guys do.”

McCarthy added that seeing his friends give the market a shot is inspiring.

“It’s inviting, the space is pretty rad and I think it’s reflective of the people who live here,” he said of the restaurant on Tuesday. “For the first time I’ve been in here I’m definitely digging it, and I like the direction they’re going to take it.”

Proctor, Singham and Trieschmann receive business guidance from Trieschmann’s mother, Susan, who runs Curt’s Cafe. However, the three men said Just 8 is very much an independent enterprise that is based on a menu reflective of their individual personalities and friendship.

First on the cookie menu is the “Dr. Proctors,” a peanut butter dough cookie layered with chocolate chips, M&Ms and Reese’s that is baked upon order to a simultaneously crispy and gooey consistency. Singham said the cookie was named in honor of his co-owner.

“We’d call him Proctor, and he drank a lot of Dr Pepper,” Singham said with a laugh.

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