New barbecue joint opens in Evanston
April 21, 2017
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When Madhuker Talari noticed that downtown Evanston lacked many barbecue options near Northwestern, he decided to open one of his own.
Sam’s Chicken and Ribs — a barbecue dine-in and carry-out restaurant that also serves alcohol — opened Sunday in the former location of Mexican restaurant Las Marias, 1639 Orrington Ave. It plans to host a grand opening sometime within a month, which may feature promotions like trivia night and karaoke, bar manager Robert Pardon said.
Talari, the owner of two other Sam’s restaurants, said he had been interested in opening a location in Evanston for a long time. He described the city as beautiful and said the residential neighborhoods and student population provided an ample customer base.
Talari said he used to run a different restaurant near Loyola University Chicago that had a lot of late-night student customers. He said he hoped to replicate that business with his new Evanston restaurant.
Sam’s came to Evanston because Talari saw a niche for a barbecue restaurant, Pardon said. The restaurant would be “a quality place to come out, hang out (and) have a great night with drinks and friends,” he said.
Pardon said he has learned that running a restaurant in Evanston is different from running one in Chicago. He said unlike a large city, where promotions can effectively attract customers, restaurants in smaller cities must rely on word of mouth. As a result, it is especially important to ensure that customers have a good experience, he said.
Pardon used to work at a different Sam’s location but recently moved to Evanston, he said.
“Evanston is a town that is more word of mouth,” Pardon said. “It makes it a lot more fun and makes me enjoy my job that much more to try to please people every day.”
Although the restaurant has been open for less than a week, some students have already tried it out. Weinberg junior Yousuf Kadir said he appreciated the service at the restaurant.
“The food’s really good and the service was impeccable, so I’m glad I tried this place out,” Kadir said. “I’ll definitely come back.”
Sam’s will offer a 10 percent discount for NU students and faculty with a WildCARD, Pardon said. In the upcoming months, Pardon said he plans to add to the menu — particularly the drinks. Pardon also said he intends to expand his base to families and lunch customers.
“We’re gonna have a lot of fun with this place,” he said.