Doors open at Chicken & Waffles
If you decide to start your way through the menu at the beginning, a dish called "The Saint" would be first on your list -- featuring just what the sign outside the door says -- chicken and waffles.
After a "friends and family" gathering Thursday night that drew a packed crowd estimated at 400 people, the Evanston outpost of Chicago's Home of Chicken & Waffles opened for business this morning at 6 a.m.
Staff outnumbered the customers at the breakfast hour today, but the drop-ins included Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, who said he was working with neighbors to come up with improved parking solutions for the restaurant.
While there's some parking just west of the building on McDaniel Avenue, when the place at 2424 Dempster St. is packed, many customers may end up parking to the north -- across busy Dempster Street.
Braithwaite says he's hoping valet parking may help solve that issue, and suggested that patrons who do park on the other side of Dempster should walk a block east to Fowler Avenue and cross at the light there.
A restaurant worker this morning shovels snow from an area that will provide outdoor seating for the new restaurant once the weather warms up.
Because Dempster is a state highway, Braithwaite says, the city won't be able to install a pedestrian crosswalk at McDaniel to protect pedestrians from cars on Dempster heading over the North Shore Channel bridge.
The city has provided a $200,000 loan and an $8,000 facade-improvement grant toward the roughly $764,000 cost of opening the restaurant, which is the third for the family-owned chain, which also operates in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood and in Oak Park.
The building, which had been vacant for a number of years, previously housed an auto parts store.