Students get a taste of Evanston at the annual Big Bite Night

Students and residents enjoy free samples on That’s Five and Dime’s rooftop terrace.

Rebecca Aizin, Reporter

Students flocked to Whole Foods and Target to get a free taste of downtown Evanston at Big Bite Night.

Over 30 restaurants participated in the popular event — organized by Associated Student Government and Downtown Evanston — setting up stands outside with free samples of the best of their menu. Students checked in between 3 and 5 p.m. at either Whole Foods or Target where they received a map highlighting all of their options.

Medill freshman Mackenzie Matheson and McCormick freshman Ashley Xu prepared to stuff themselves with all of the restaurants’ offerings. They aimed to visit all 37 free food locations, setting out on an odyssey of downtown Evanston.

However, Xu had no need to look further than her first stop, Frida’s Breakfast & Lunch, claiming her experience could be summarized in one word: “taquitos.” For her, the highlight of the night was those chicken taquitos.

Despite their goal of hitting 37 restaurants, Matheson and Xu fell short, hitting only ten.

“We made a real effort to get those 37,” Xu said, “But after about 10, we were so happily stuffed we felt like our journey could safely come to an end.”

With food ranging from classic American cuisine at Epic Burger to Vietnamese food at Viet Nom Nom, there was something to satisfy any palate.

Communication junior Hannah Gillespie went to Big Bite Night her freshman year and decided to make a return. She said she enjoyed sampling foods from restaurants she hadn’t visited before and find new favorite spots in Evanston.

“The mac & cheese from Clarke’s was heavenly, the guy at the Next of Kin table was so friendly and fun,” Gillespie said. “The amount of food each restaurant gave out was so generous it was literally my dinner tonight.”

Some restaurants provided more variety than others, including La Macchina Cafe which handed out a full three course meal for its Big Bite experience.

The Korean and Japanese restaurant, Kokomo, opened this summer and participated in Big Bite Night for the first time this year.

“I really liked the Kokomo place, their honey chicken was good,” Matheson said. “I’ll definitely go back and get that.”

Matheson said she spent the whole morning huddled over her readings for class this week, but she enjoyed Big Bite Night as a break from studying.

“Bite Night was a much needed reprieve after two weeks of stress,” Matheson said. “Getting to have a break with my friends was really relaxing and much needed.”

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Twitter: @rebecca_aizin

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