Daily file photo by Edward Cox
The restaurant that has served chicken and waffles to the Evanston community for a little over two years has closed its doors.
Chicago’s Home of Chicken & Waffles, 2424 W. Dempster St., closed Sunday, despite plans to relocate to a location in Chicago, restaurant owner Darnell Johnson said.
“It was just not the right fit for our type of restaurant,” Johnson said. “We have a couple other locations we want to focus on now.”
The restaurant currently has two other locations — one in Chicago and one in Oak Park, Illinois. Johnson said the restaurant is looking to expand into Cleveland and Homewood, Illinois.
Chicken and Waffles opened in Evanston in January 2013 following a $200,000 loan from the city. Earlier this year, city officials agreed to restructure the restaurant’s loan to relieve some of its financial struggles. The restructuring extended the restaurant’s payback schedule to reduce its monthly payments.
“We are disappointed that Chicken and Waffles was unable to succeed in Evanston,” Paul Zalmezak, the city’s economic development coordinator, said in an email to The Daily. “Evanston’s restaurant scene is highly competitive and high quality. The best operators will continue to do well.”
Johnson said although he liked the restaurant’s location, he had some concerns with Evanston itself.
“It wasn’t the best place for us demographically, geographically,” he said. “We could have a chosen a better place.”
Johnson originally decided to open a Chicken and Waffles in Evanston after an Oak Park village official said the restaurant seemed like a good fit for the city, Johnson said. However, the restaurant chain has partnered with a new investment group, closing the Evanston location to “move forward,” he said.
“(The financial issues) were not a factor in the restaurant closing,” he said. “We are looking forward to opening new locations and excelling with our brand.”
Luis Garcia, one of the managers of the Oak Park restaurant and a former manager at the Evanston location, said he enjoyed the time he spent in the city.
“We have no regrets,” he said. “It was a real honor to be there and cater to everyone in Evanston. It’s an amazing suburb and maybe in the future … we will open again.”
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