Taste of Evanston festival attracts local foodies, gives back to community


Alex Schwartz/Daily Senior Staffer

Sandwiches and cookies sit on a table outside the Evanston History Center. Evanston residents sampled food from numerous local restaurants at the Taste of Evanston event on Sunday.

Syd Stone, Reporter

Bluestone, Hoosier Mama Pie Company, Peckish Pig and Tomate Fresh Kitchen, among other Evanston restaurants, set up stalls on the lawn of the historic Charles Gates Dawes House this weekend.
Evanston’s sold-out, third annual Taste of Evanston food festival, hosted by the Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club, featured 30 of Evanston’s most popular restaurants and a handful of local breweries and wineries on Sunday.

“Because Evanston is a great restaurant town in a picturesque locale, we’ve been able to grow this festival in just three years into a substantial source of donations to address community needs,” Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club president Brad Weiss said in a news release.

Martha Meyer, a children’s librarian at Evanston Public Library, said she heard about the event on social media and knows that the organizers of the event made an effort to reach a wider audience through social media this year.

In honor of this year’s theme — “Hungry For Work” — a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit three local nonprofits: The Evanston Work Ethic Program, No Boundaries training program and the Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse. Each organization aims to provide workplace training and other services to Evanston residents.

“Today highlights what’s great about Evanston — we have some of the best restaurants in all of the North Shore right here today,” Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty said at the event. “The community service nature of Evanston is first and foremost with all of the proceeds going to three wonderful organizations.”

The Evanston Work Ethic Program provides mentoring, training and financial assistance to Evanston Township High School students who aspire to a careers in the skilled trades that don’t require a four-year degree.

Nancy Baker, the executive director of the work ethic program, said the program begins working with students when they are juniors in high school, eventually pairing them with a mentor from the profession they want to pursue.

“Evanston is acutely aware of economic forces and the great diversity of socioeconomic opportunity,” Baker said. “Finding jobs in sustainable markets where people can continue to live in our community is something that’s really important to Evanstonians. We don’t want Evanston to be a monolithic suburb.”

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