New ‘all-occasion’ restaurant to launch in Evanston early next year


Kate Salvidio/The Daily Northwestern

The building where LYFE Kitchen once stood, 1603 Orrington St. Kinship/Next of Kin, a new “all-occasion” restaurant, is set to open at the location early next year.

Charlotte Walsh, Reporter

A new “all-occasion” restaurant, Kinship/Next of Kin, will open January 2018 in downtown Evanston and serve a variety of handmade dishes.

The restaurant will open at 1603 Orrington Ave. — the former location of LYFE Kitchen — and feature “sister concepts within one space,” said Emily Paulsen, director of marketing and sales for L3 Hospitality Group. The Chicago-based company will own and operate the shop.

Two-thirds of the space will be set aside for Kinship, a full-service restaurant that will offer dinner and weekend brunch. In the other third, L3 plans to open Next of Kin, a marketplace concept operating only on weekdays. Next of Kin will also offer takeout options for breakfast and lunch.

Paul Zalmezak, Evanston’s economic development manager, said splitting the restaurant will help attract more customers.

“It will really stabilize the property because you will have activity in that space throughout the day,” he said. “It’s a really creative solution.”

The restaurant will be a space of community for Evanston residents to gather with friends or family and share a meal, Paulsen said.

“Evanston is lacking an all-occasion restaurant that feels cool,” she said. “We really want to be some place where you can take somebody on a date, go out for a birthday dinner with your girlfriends, can go to brunch with your friends on the weekends or you can take your parents when they’re in town.”

Paulsen said Kinship will have a woodstone oven and serve roasted vegetables and wood-fired pizzas. L3 wants the menu to feel warm and “homey” without being too simple, Paulsen said.

Appetizers and desserts will be shareable, and the menu is set to feature some “ethnically-inspired cuisines,” like Spanish octopus, she said.

L3 has been a franchisee of the LYFE brand for the past four years, Paulsen said, operating five LYFE Kitchen restaurants in the Chicago area. But it has recently begun to close locations to take a more local approach, she said.

“Since we are such a small, local Chicago company, we really wanted our brand to reflect that, and not feel like this big chain that’s out of California or has locations all around the country,” Paulsen said. “We wanted it to be a little more authentic.”

Kinship/Next of Kin will be located next to Fountain Square, for which renovations are set to be complete in the spring. Ald. Donald Wilson (4th) said the restaurant would be a great addition to his ward.

“One of the things I really like about Evanston … is the idea of outdoor dining, outdoor experiences and just spending time with friends, family,” Wilson said. “With it being situated right next to the plaza, (the restaurant) is ideally located for that.”

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