Brunch spot Ovo Frito Cafe opens on Maple Avenue


Ben Pope/Daily Senior Staffer

Ovo Frito Cafe is located in a relatively nondescript storefront on Maple Avenue. The cafe opened last month, hoping to expand Evanston’s brunch options.

Syd Stone, Reporter

Evanston welcomed Ovo Frito Cafe, a breakfast, lunch and brunch restaurant, to town in July.

Zinnia Iglesias and her husband Roberto Flores own the cafe, which opened July 6 and is located at 1936 Maple Ave.

Iglesias said the cafe is an American restaurant with a hint of Latino influence.

Ovo Frito is the couple’s first restaurant, but both Iglesias and Flores have worked in the restaurant industry for many years. Iglesias said she worked as a general manager for McDonald’s for roughly 14 years, and Flores worked at a breakfast restaurant. She said Flores has always enjoyed cooking, so owning a restaurant seemed like a natural next step.

“We decided to have our own restaurant so we can have a better opportunity for my kids,” Iglesias said.

Iglesias and Flores started to look into creating their own restaurant 10 years ago and settled on Evanston for a location in 2016.

“We’re very happy to be in Evanston because we feel a lot of support from the community,” Iglesias said.

Paul Zalmezak, Evanston’s economic development manager, said Ovo Frito’s location on Maple Avenue has been vacant for a few years.

“It’s a tough space,” he said. “It’s an in-between zone between Noyes and downtown. There’s some pretty good foot traffic there because it’s just north of downtown and there’s the Foster station (on) the (CTA) Purple Line, but it’s not in a vital business district at the moment.”

Zalmezak said the city is working to make Foster and Maple a more viable and “legitimate” neighborhood shopping district.

He also said that Ovo Frito brings a new perspective to Evanston’s already-vibrant brunch scene.

“We need another brunch place, some place that people line up for. I don’t know that this will be the place but there’s definitely room in the market for some alternatives,” Zalmezak said. “This brings something to central Evanston that I would argue is much needed. They’ve got some interesting twists to traditional breakfast foods, and I think it’ll attract a broad audience.”

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