Litehouse Whole Food Grill opens in Evanston


Zoe Malin/Daily Senior Staffer

Litehouse Whole Food Grill. Located across from Evanston Township High School, franchise owner Tanesha Ford said she wants to add a healthy twist to traditionally unhealthy meals.

Andrew Rowan, Reporter

The newly-opened Litehouse Whole Food Grill wants to show the community that fast food doesn’t have to be unhealthy.

Taneesha Ford, franchise owner of the Evanston Litehouse, said she aims to offer a variety of menu items that gives a healthy twist on meals that are usually unhealthy. She also said she hopes to maintain the good taste often associated with fast food.

The menu includes a combination of pizzas, wraps, salads, bowls, tacos, burritos and pasta.

Erik Nance, the original founder of Litehouse, said he wanted a restaurant where his vegan and non-vegan family members could both find high-quality options that satisfy their different eating preferences.

“The menu is literally all-natural, whole food cuisine,” said Nance.

All of the food is all-natural and comes from responsibly sourced places, he said. For example, they make pizza on garlic naan bread with natural vegan cheese. For the chicken burrito and jerk chicken tacos, the restaurant uses cage-free chicken meat.

The restaurant, located directly across from Evanston Township High School in the Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center, 1823 Church St., is in the middle of Evanston. With wooden tables, colorful rugs, seating variety and graphic art, Ford said she hopes the restaurant will become a space for the community to gather and linger.

The space is reflective of the name, Litehouse. “That’s why we have the couches, the TVs and everything, it’s like being at home,” Ford said.

Nance said the term “Lite” has a double meaning, Nance said. The restaurant brings “lite” foods into the community, and through service, brings the light of Christ. Nance is also a minister, and he wanted to open a restaurant that was good for the body and the soul.

“Our motto is to treat everyone like Obama,” said Nance. “That’s the mindset we’ve been able to keep for a while.”

The restaurant offers a “go-premium” option, where customers can purchase an extra meal for someone who may not be able to afford it. Ford said less-fortunate students have asked if they can wash the dishes or take out the trash in exchange for a meal, but through the generosity of other patrons, they can get the same meals for free.

Ald. Robin Rue Simmons (5th) said she admired the “neighborly approach” of the restaurant, which is in her ward. She also highlighted the restaurant’s efforts to hire within the community.

“We could not have found a better business model for that location,” Rue Simmons said.

Because of the inviting atmosphere and a location in the “heart of Evanston,” Rue Simmons said she has scheduled work meetings and office hours in the building.

Going forward, Ford and Nance said they’re excited about the menu and community philanthropic efforts.

“I love Evanston,” said Ford. “I plan to be here for a really, really long time and to encourage healthy foods, the fast way.”

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