New Mediterranean-Italian restaurant Terra & Vine to open this week


Zack Laurence/Daily Senior Staffer

Terra & Vine, 1701 Maple Ave., is opening this Thursday. The restaurant will serve both Italian and Mediterranean dishes.

Ben Winck, Assistant City Editor

Restaurant owner and wine expert Alpana Singh said she created her new Mediterranean restaurant Terra & Vine in downtown Evanston with Northwestern students in mind.

“Everything is very accessible and approachable. You can come here for a birthday celebration or a casual meal,” Singh said. “We want it to be affordable, not something you spend all your rent on.”

The restaurant, 1701 Maple Ave., will open Thursday with a menu of Italian dishes curated by executive chef Andrew Graves. A connected bar will offer classic American foods and a 60-person outdoor patio. Although the restaurant’s facade may seem formal, the restaurant accommodates those looking for fine dining as well as those eating on a budget, Singh said.

Terra & Vine occupies the space once used by Bravo Cucina Italiana, and although it will focus on traditional Italian courses, a wide range of Mediterranean staples can be found on the menu. Singh also touted the restaurant’s wine menu, saying a “good percentage of our wine list is under $45 a bottle,” before adding that there are more expensive and exclusive bottles as well.

The restaurant will also feature a wood-fired grill meant to be used dishes like grilled salmon and polenta croquettes. Positioned as a hearth, the grill will help unite many menu items with a wooden flavor, Singh said. Graves said it’s about 10 feet long and makes the restaurant one of the more unique in the area.

“The hearth was commissioned from a guy in California,” Graves said. “There isn’t another one in the city, that’s for sure.”

Although Terra & Vine is among several restaurants offering Mediterranean food in downtown Evanston, it is looking to bring something different to Evanston residents and Northwestern students, Singh said. The process of creating the menu wasn’t particularly difficult, Graves said, as he predicts the Evanston community will gravitate to the restaurant’s Mediterranean theme.

The city’s goal isn’t to have restaurants competing with each other but to offer several choices for those visiting the downtown area, said Johanna Leonard, Evanston’s economic development division manager.

“It fits into opportunities that we want to help foster,” Leonard said. “We have options for everybody. We want to make sure that people with different tastes and budgets have categories of choice.”

Located in the plaza that houses the Century 12 movie theater, Terra & Vine and Terra Bar are in a position to capture much of the business that surrounds the downtown area, Leonard said. She added that although other popular restaurants such as DMK Burger & Fish and Wings Over Evanston have closed down in recent years, Terra & Vine can appeal to the entire community and is poised to bring traffic to downtown Evanston.

“It’s whatever you need it to be for yourself at a given moment. For an occasion or not.” Singh said. “I always say that the occasion is the occasion.”

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