Thomas & Dutch to bring upgraded dining experience to Evanston


Photo courtesy of Jess Maynard Photography

Thomas & Dutch now offers an upscale dining experience in Evanston

Kate Walter, Assistant City Editor

After running downtown Evanston restaurant Farmhouse for nearly 10 years, co-owners TJ Callahan and Ferdia Doherty decided to close the restaurant and start from scratch.  

They opened a new restaurant, Thomas & Dutch, in April. It’s in the same location on Church Street as Farmhouse, providing diners with “elevated and craveable comfort food,” according to its website. Its menu offers a range of dishes, from agave roasted carrots to beef Wellington. 

Callahan is aiming for the restaurant to be more upscale than Farmhouse, offering a sommelier, high-end wine offerings and creative cocktails. 

“We decided it would be an eclectic, modern American restaurant that uses sustainably sourced ingredients, but a much more polished and sophisticated offering than what it was at Farmhouse,” Callahan said. 

The name of the restaurant combines Callahan’s legal first name, Thomas, and the college nickname of Doherty: Dutch.

The duo closed Farmhouse in November and have been planning for the rebrand throughout the past year, Callahan said. 

Callahan said the inspiration for rebranding came from his impressions of the changing dining scene in Evanston during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People on the North Shore became used to looking for their restaurant choices locally rather than going to the city,” Callahan said. “I looked at that and said there’s an opportunity here for us to do something different.”

Thomas & Dutch’s commitment to staying local extends beyond its menu. Callahan said the restaurant sources some ingredients from his Wisconsin farm, Brown Dog Farm. 

Joanna Kramer, who runs an Evanston ceramics studio, said the restaurant reached out to local artists like her to feature art, including her pots, in their space.

“I feel like that’s just another level of thinking about what does it mean for a restaurant to support local food, but also art,” Kramer said. 

Chicago resident Eugene Dizon, who has dined at Farmhouse, said he was impressed by the elevated dining experience at Thomas & Dutch, with items such as the spring greens and beef Wellington. 

After visiting, he said the restaurant is worth driving in from the city for.

“From beginning to end, it’s a place that you want to go to if you want to dress up, if you want to be waited on by people who are very knowledgeable of the new menu and the drinks as well as the wine,” Dizon said. 

As the weather gets warmer, Callahan said the restaurant plans to open up for lunch and brunch and have sidewalk seating. 

He hopes Thomas & Dutch will offer Evanston residents the type of modern dining experience people thought they could only find in Chicago. 

“As much as I liked the cheese curds (at Farmhouse), no cheese curds at Thomas & Dutch, right?” Callhan said. “It’s just much more of a contemporary feel.”

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