From coffee shops to restaurants, landmarks to bookstores, The Daily has your guide to the best places in Evanston right here. Based on your nominations and your votes, we compiled The Daily’s sixth annual Best of Evanston. Scroll down to find out the winners.

Best Restaurant & Sandwiches

Bat 17

David Lee/The Daily Northwestern

Just because the Patriots did not win the Super Bowl doesn’t mean every dynasty lost this year. The usual suspect, Bat 17 came out on top in both the Best Restaurant and Best Sandwich categories for the sixth and third years in a row, respectively.

The cozy mix of restaurant and sports bar located at 1709 Benson Ave. has you covered if you want award-winning brunch or dinner, to catch a Northwestern football game if you don’t feel like hopping on the game day shuttle, or a free cup of coffee on your way to class. That’s right, free coffee.

Bat has it all, almost literally; with an 11-page menu featuring anything from salads to their continuously-winning sandwiches and burgers, there’s something there for young kids to vegetarians to self-proclaimed carnivores. From their famous K-2 burger, the Tatonka bison or their meatless vegetable burger, Bat 17 offers something for every diner. If choosing your meal isn’t hard enough, their 10 side options will stump you even further.

And if you didn’t think salad could be filling, guess again. Their regular and reduced sized salads make for great lunches and possible dinners later in the day, including options such as their skirt steak salad or their barbecue chicken salad piled high with toppings and veggies.

Already sold? In addition to their food, their rewards program allows frequent eaters to receive $25 off their meal every time they reach 300 points, which are earned when members buy anything at the restaurant.

With sandwiches made from bread baked at the nearby Bennison’s Bakery, brews and breakfast, it’s no surprise that Bat continues to reign supreme (even when our fairweather favorite teams do not).

– Sophie Mann

Best New Restaurant

Furious Spoon

Katie Pach/Daily Senior Staffer

When Chef Shin Thompson, owner of the Chicago ramen chain Furious Spoon, opened his newest store in Evanston last summer, he hoped to specifically target Northwestern students as his primary customer base.

Thompson was evidently successful — in a year rife with new eateries opening throughout the city, Furious Spoon was voted the best.

The restaurant at the corner of Maple Avenue and Church Street both looks and feels contemporary, from its all-glass exterior to its blaring 1990s-era hip-hop to its oft-crowded interior bar.

The food, however, adheres to the high standards of traditional ramen. Customers choose between four broth options — chicken, shrimp, tonkotsu (pork) or vegetable — and a variety of meats, vegetables and other toppings. The broths are made with bones and simmered overnight as part of an 18-hour process, Thompson told The Daily in August, and come in extremely generous portions.

And if NU students aren’t lured solely by Furious Spoon’s hip vibe and overflowing bowls of ramen, they are by the restaurant’s late-night hours: open until midnight on Friday and Saturday and 11 p.m. all other nights.

The final product is a restaurant that offers its customers exactly what they want, whenever they want, in the setting they want — and that combination has paid off by quickly cementing Furious Spoon into Evanston’s list of staple fast-casual restaurants.

– Ben Pope

Best Brunch

Le Peep

David Lee/The Daily Northwestern

Hopping off the train at the Davis CTA station, you may be searching for a place to enjoy brunch during Family Weekend or with your best friend who finally visited after three and a half years of talking about it. No matter what you’re in the mood for, look no further than Le Peep, on the corner of Benson Avenue and Church Street.

The restaurant, 827 Church St., is open for breakfast, brunch and lunch but prides itself on being an “experience,” according to their website. Their menu includes typical breakfast fare, like pancakes and Belgian waffles, but they take it to another level.

With their Pancake of the Month, multiple eggs Benedicts and skillet options and burgers and sandwiches for those who don’t favor breakfast food, Le Peep’s routinely full house doesn’t surprise.

Some highlights of the chain’s menu include their stuffed French toast, topped with powdered sugar and stuffed with vanilla ricotta cheese, and their Aspen fruit blintz, also stuffed with ricotta and your choice of blueberry compote, cinnamon apples or fresh fruit on top. If you’re craving an egg fix, look no further than their Hall of Fame omelets, where you can build your own or choose from their wide range of options.

While brunch may not traditionally be the healthiest meal of the day, Le Peep strives to include healthy options and keep customers informed, with their “Healthy Habits” menu section and including calorie counts. Le Peep keeps even dieters happy with delicious options for all.

– Sophie Mann

Best Drunchies


Katie Pach/Daily Senior Staffer

There’s truly nothing like the great, greasy taste of a Cheesie’s Frenchie sandwich late on a Friday night. You’re a little tired, you’re a little drunk and you’re a little regretful because this $8 bit of heaven is mostly just carbs but hey — you’re happy.

Cheesie’s Pub and Grub, 622 Davis St., is Evanston’s temple of cheese, bread and late-night debauchery. Pop in on any Friday night and you’ll find a collection of underclassmen — OK, sometimes you’ll spot upperclassmen — sitting tightly in a booth, dipping a freshly pressed grilled cheese sandwich in a cup of tomato soup and smiling as the warm, toasted bread meets their lips.

Everyone has their favorite Cheesie’s grilled cheese sandwich. For those looking for a plain but familiar bite, there’s The Original — bread, two cheeses, tomato soup. Those on the prowl for fried protein can pick delicacies like The Tradicion, which comes with chorizo and a hot kick of jalapeno, or The Tenderizer, which is packed with crunchy chicken tenders coated in barbeque sauce. Still hungry? Load up on sides, like the loaded tots and cheese curds, which taste really good next to a cheesy sandwich.

Consumption of these sandwiches after a Friday night may quickly sober you up, but you’re in luck: Cheesie’s has its own bar and beer selection. Yet Cheesie’s isn’t just the oasis at the end of a night out in Evanston — the grilled cheeses are still pretty amazing on any given day, at any given hour. Take it from this lactose-intolerant fanatic.

– Mariana Alfaro

Best Comfort Food

Chicken Shack

Brian Meng/The Daily Northwestern

You failed your midterm. You broke up with your significant other. You came down with a nasty head cold.

You want messy. You want fried. You want grease.

Whatever your flavor of heartbreak, Chicken Shack’s creative, crispy concoctions can calm and comfort the worst of situations. Located at the intersection of Ridge Avenue and Garnett Place, the fried chicken phenom won this year’s honor for the city’s best comfort food after being snubbed of any critical recognition last year.

The ways you can get your chicken at the restaurant vary wildly. The Shack features lunch specials including chicken breast and leg combos, with almost every order coming with a side of fries, bread and your choice of dipping sauce. There are buckets of wings, fish dinners and even party pan-sized options.

Chicken Shack comes with local renown too. In a 2014 article, Thrillist Chicago ranked the restaurant the best Chicago fried chicken, saying the place fries its birds “beautifully” and seasons them exceptionally well. ABC 7’s Steve Dolinsky — an avid Chicago food reviewer better known as the “Hungry Hound” — ranked Chicken Shack his second favorite fried chicken joint in 2011.

Even though the store is located about a half mile west of campus, the enticing smell that wafts from its kitchen will beckon to you like the sweet songs of the Grecian sirens. So whether takeout or delivery — they do that too — drown your sorrows with the golden breading of a crispy Chicken Shack tender.

Grease dripping down your chin and thick barbecue sauce caking your fingertips, you’ll forget why you even needed to be comforted in the first place.

– Ryan Wangman

Best Place for Dinner with the Family


David Lee/The Daily Northwestern

By the time October rolls around, you’re desperate for Family Weekend. The Allison hot cookie bars and Plex stir fry nights add up and you’re dying for a taste of real food: something not from a dining hall.

The best place to have your parents treat you to a meal? Farmhouse.

For the third year in a row, Farmhouse, 703 Church St., snagged the win for the best place for dinner with the family. Boasting a seasonal farm-to-table menu complete with local brews for the 21-and-up crowd, the restaurant is operated by a group called Farmheads, which advertises itself as “a hospitality group with the mission of offering affordable, approachable, Midwestern fare based on locally sourced and sustainable ingredients,” according to Farmhouse’s website.

While the restaurant may not be so affordable for a college student on a budget — the cheapest main course dish is a $14 veggie burger — it’s the perfect place to eat out with your parents. They get a taste of a local restaurant and you get a taste of seasonal greens or beef short rib mac and cheese. The mouth-watering, locally sourced menu is enough to remind anyone of home-cooked meals.

Farmhouse features a cozy, rustic atmosphere with exposed brick walls and dim lighting — a pleasant reprieve from the fluorescent lights of dining halls adorned with posters advertising more activities and organizations to sign up for. Like you aren’t involved with enough already.

The next time your parents are in town, take them to Farmhouse. It’ll provide your tastebuds with a reminder of personalized food and your parents will get a feel for the Midwest.

– Amelia Langas

Best Coffee Shop

Coffee Lab

Brian Meng/The Daily Northwestern

It’s a Tuesday afternoon and you walk into Norris, looking for the perfect place to cram for your midterm and get some caffeine in your system. However, you’re quickly met with a long line at Norbucks and no empty tables in sight.

Sound familiar? Look no further — Coffee Lab is the answer to your prayers.

Nestled under the shadow of the Noyes CTA station, Coffee Lab, 910 Noyes St., has claimed this year’s title of Best Coffee Shop in Evanston, beating out Unicorn Cafe, Kafein and last year’s winner, BrewBike.

Opened in 2010, the cozy coffee shop operates with the goal of delighting its customers by being “the best coffee shop in the neighborhood.” Coffee Lab — open six days a week — is the perfect place to find your coffee pick-me-up and study spot all in one.

The store offers several variations of roasted coffee and espressos to fulfill all your caffeine-cravings. In addition to traditional favorites, Coffee Lab also offers its specialty pour-over coffee. All of Coffee Lab’s coffee and espresso beans are micro-roasted by a coffee roasting specialist to ensure the highest quality taste possible.

Not a fan of coffee? Coffee Lab serves a diverse collection of drinks for all occasions from hot chocolate on a rainy day to chai tea lattes, caramel apple ciders and various forms of iced tea. Nine different types of organic loose leaf tea are also featured on the menu.

Aside from drinks, Coffee Lab has a full supply of locally baked scones, cookies and muffins that are delivered fresh each morning. If you’re craving something more filling, the independent coffee house offers quiche, bagels and sandwiches — including their best-selling chipotle turkey melt.

Coffee Lab is a haven for college students seeking an aesthetically-pleasing spot to hang out with friends, read a book or just to grab a drink while studying. With its expansive menu and warm atmosphere, Coffee Lab is one place that makes the trek up north worth it.

– Madeleine Fernando

Best Pizza

Blaze Pizza

David Lee/The Daily Northwestern

Despite Chicago’s reputation for deep dish, Blaze Pizza, 1737 Sherman Ave., has claimed the Best Pizza title yet again.

A design-your-own pizza phenomenon so popular LeBron James is an investor, Blaze customers pick their crust, sauces, cheeses and toppings as they move down an assembly line. Whether you’re a fan of classic cheese or like to load your pie up with toppings, Blaze provides enough variety for every pizza lover.

Blaze’s claim to fame lies in the firing of their pizzas: Once you’ve chosen your toppings, the pizza is cooked and ready to eat in less than 180 seconds.

But there’s more than just pizza at this Evanston favorite — customers can choose salads and drinks to go with their pie as well.

If you don’t get a side, the six-slice pie is more than enough to fill you up; even if the perfectly gooey cheese and yummy toppings leave you wanting more.

Lastly, Blaze is reasonably priced as well, with the build your own pizza costing only $8.45. Between the Blaze app and Postmates, you can get it to go and delivered.

If you find yourself needing a pizza fix between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., you can’t go wrong with Evanston’s favorite pizza joint, Blaze Pizza.

– Gabby Birenbaum

Best Sushi


Katie Pach/Daily Senior Staffer

For the third year in a row, Todoroki Hibachi and Sushi has been named Evanston’s best spot for sushi.

Todoroki, 526 Davis St., welcomes Northwestern students and Evanston residents to a variety of delicious rolls and entertainment throughout the year. Since opening in 2012, the restaurant has been a popular destination for students, particularly for its all-you-can-eat deal.

Beyond common choices like the Alaskan roll and the California roll, Todoroki is the perfect place to try new flavors.

If you’re looking for something spicy, order the Hot Stuff roll, which includes red tobiko with jalapeno and chili sauce. For a twist on the classic shrimp tempura roll, try Sex on the Beach, which comes with eel, mango and lobster salad. Make sure to also order Sweet Tooth, a dessert roll that originated from a Valentine’s Day special a few years ago.

In addition to sushi, Todoroki customers can enjoy traditional Japanese cuisine prepared at hibachi stations. The restaurant also offers a BYOB option in its main room Sunday through Thursday.

Each Halloween, Todoroki hosts an eating contest in which students and Evanston residents compete for the prize of all-you-can-eat sushi once a week for roughly two months. The audience member with the best costume, along with one guest, can win a free dinner to celebrate.

– Peter Kotecki

Best Burger


David Lee/The Daily Northwestern

Evanston residents’ love affair with Edzo's Burger Shop only grows stronger with the burger joint at 1571 Sherman Ave. winning Best Burger once again.

Keeping it simple with classics like the griddled burger and the patty melt, Edzo's is your one-stop shop to satisfy your juicy, meaty fantasies. The classic American burger restaurant is proud of its USDA choice American beef, which goes straight from the grinder to the griddle. In case you're still feeling bad about the meat, Edzo's gives you the option to upgrade to locally-raised or grass-fed beef.

The restaurant is also a vegetarian paradise with meat-free options like the veggie burger and the portobello “burger.” I know it sounds bizarre, but as a three-year vegan, let me remind you to never underestimate the power of a perfectly cooked mushroom.

Want something brunchy without paying for brunch? Jazz up your meat with some bacon, sautéed mushrooms and a fried egg. Seriously, imagine that yolk.

At Edzo's, you can get a solid meal in for less than $10, filling your belly without emptying your wallet. Plain fries are only $2.25, but why not fatten up with some crazy fries? Feeling like a million dollars? How about some truffle fries?

And no burger experience is complete without a shake. Indulge in every craving with Edzo's large selection of milkshakes — from the quintessential vanilla to spicier flavors like nutella and maple.

Edzo's is here to change that freshman 15 to a freshman 50 in the best way possible.

– Amy Li

Best Dessert & WildCARD Discount


David Lee/The Daily Northwestern

Andy’s Frozen Custard at 719 Church St. has claimed the best dessert title for the fourth year in a row, this time also taking home the best Wildcard discount crown.

This Evanston go-to is not only a favorite because of its delicious frozen treats, but also its Wildcard discount, making it the perfect meet-up spot for post-midterm celebrations or PA group reunions. In addition to its sweet treats, Andy’s also offers a sweet 10 percent off any custard item — which are around $5 depending on size — with your Wildcard.

From classic cones to the wide variety of concretes, malts, sundaes and milkshakes, Andy’s has a little something for everyone. If you’re not feeling the usual Triple Chocolate Concrete or the fudge-filled Rico Suave Jackhammer, try one of the old-fashioned sodas or Italian ices. Want to get creative? You can choose between a chocolate or vanilla base and go wild adding your own toppings.

Proving that custard can be a year-round treat, Andy’s serves seasonal flavors that both satisfy your winter cravings and provide a good way to cool down in the summer. Andy Nog Shakes and Key Lime Pie Concretes will put in the mood no matter what time of year it is.

Plus, it’s easy to forget about the winter — or that midterm — when you’re enjoying some delicious custard inside Andy’s toasty spot on Church Street.

– Sammi Handler

Best Vegetarian

Blind Faith Cafe

Lauren Duquette/Daily Senior Staffer

In a city with numerous tantalizing options for vegetarians, Blind Faith Cafe stands out — as it has ever since 1979 — as being the only restaurant serving an entire menu exclusively of vegetarian food. This year, it takes over the now-closed LYFE Kitchen as the winner of the Best Vegetarian award.

The establishment, moderately upscale but reasonably priced, is typically crowded on any given night despite its niche market. After one look at the menu, it makes sense why.

Blind Faith’s fare includes not only the veggie burgers, leafy salads and superfood bowls that any vegetarian consumes a million times in their life, but also creative options like Shiitake Walnut Loaf, Barbeque Seitan Sandwich and Seitan Marsala (employing the semi-obscure meat substitute of Seitan). The offerings also span many cuisines — the Thai Peanut Noodles and the Enchiladas Verdes are listed next to each other, for example.

And if the extensive list of all-vegetarian appetizers, entrees and soups doesn’t prove enough to satisfy an appetite, the on-site bakery — which displays its creations in a massive display case right by the entrance — can take care of any post-dinner sweet tooths.

Blind Faith Cafe, located on Dempster Street just off Chicago Avenue, is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Friday and all three meals on weekends.

– Ben Pope

Best Date Spot

Tapas Barcelona

David Lee/The Daily Northwestern

For the third time in the past four years, Tapas Barcelona has once again claimed the title of the best date spot in Evanston.

Located close to campus at 1615 Chicago Ave., Tapas Barcelona provides an upscale meal — a notable upgrade from the regular ramen noodles and Chicken Shack runs — without breaking the bank.

The ambience of Tapas Barcelona is almost as appealing as the food. The intimate restaurant seems to always be bustling with people, and the dark wood and warm lighting make it the perfect place to spark romance.

If you’re over 21, start the evening with a glass — or a pitcher — of the fruity red wine sangria before diving into the menu of Spanish-style small plates. The shareable menu at Tapas Barcelona is what makes it perfect for a date night: The food provides an immediate connection and conversation starter.

The bacon-wrapped dates, covered with a sweet bell pepper sauce, are reason enough to come to Tapas Barcelona, and the baked goat cheese and stuffed eggplant are also must-haves. The menu is extensive, and you almost can’t go wrong, but when the plethora of small plate options becomes overwhelming, the waiters will always give input on their favorites.

When ordering, it is important to remember dessert. The sauteed banana — generously topped with caramel, pistachios and ice cream — will have your date falling for you in no time.

– Ally Mauch

Best Bar

World of Beer

David Lee/The Daily Northwestern

At a loss for places to celebrate oversized soft pretzels, more beers than you can count and not failing your organic chemistry midterm? Don’t want to spend $20 on a watered-down drink somewhere else?

World of Beer, 1601 Sherman Ave., may be the place for you. With an extensive beer list and the “Find a Beer” feature on their website to learn more about each brew, you can find anything, from something bitter to a classic Bud Light. Of course, you need to pair whatever you choose with one of their famous German pretzels with beer cheese.

If beer isn’t your thing, their multiple cider options and eight-page spirit and wine list will be able to provide something for you.

Everyone knows that drinking on an empty stomach makes for a headache later on. Instead, pair your drinks with loaded nachos or the new tater tot poutine. If you aren’t sure which drink to pair with your treats, the menu gives you tips.

During happy hour, your favorite snacks, including crispy chicken sliders and mac and cheese bites, are only $5. And if you miss happy hour, no big deal; their lunch and dinner menus are both available well into the evening.

From Dance Marathon trivia on frigid Winter Quarter Tuesdays to celebratory drinks until 2 a.m. on Saturday nights, WOB is the perfect venue for all of life’s joys, failures or whatever your imbibing needs are.

– Sophie Mann

Best Bite for Your Buck & Takeout

Joy Yee's

Katie Pach/Daily Senior Staffer

So what on earth does “Best Bite for Your Buck” stand for?

Just recall the perfectly manageable price tag and eye-dazzling splendor of pan-asian feasts at Joy Yee’s Noodle Kitchen, where you tried, but ultimately failed, to devour its mammoth portions. Then do the math. You nailed it.

As an increasingly popular eatery choked with Northwestern students craving an Asian food spree and those looking to quickly fill their stomachs before a second-round of late night studying, Joy Yee’s, 521 Davis St., was crowned Evanston’s Best Bite for Your Buck and Best Takeout.

Poking through the menu, customers can easily indulge in its vibrant colors and drool over the miscellaneous assortment of almost every Asian cuisine. From sea eel and shrimp fried rice to its signature sesame chicken, Joy Yee’s offers an array of Asian food customized for American diners. It will sate the appetite of even the pickiest gourmets.

If you are not full yet — which is highly unlikely, though — you should definitely cap your night out with Joy Yee’s Taiwanese-style bubble tea, or indulge in more eccentric options like avocado freeze with tapioca balls. The neon-colored beverage presents to customers both a visual treat and way to quench their thirst when Evanston’s weather is a little bit warmer and not characterized by winter flurries.

Although the past year was definitely not steamy for Joy Yee’s — which received a temporary Health Department-mandated closure after a random inspection — Joy Yee’s strives to better the dining experience by creating what it called “new and exciting dishes.”

So, don’t miss out on the opportunity to try it out because as we all know: Asian food never disappoints.

– Adrian Wan

Best Liquor Store

Evanston 1st Liquors

Katie Pach/Daily Senior Staffer

Evanston 1st is first again, capturing the title of best liquor store for the second straight year on the strength of a seeping selection of liquor and no shortage of stellar deals.

Located downtown at 1019 Davis St., EV1 leaves few disappointed by its assortment of intoxicants.

A wall of beers includes local brews like Finch and Two Brothers. Cheaper options like 36-packs of Natural Light are available, too.

Hard liquor is available in equal measure, and a discount table in the middle of the store boasts flavored vodka, rum and whisky. (With some options sub-$10.) A spacious section of the establishment carries an abundance of wines, from boxed Franzia to fine Italian wines.

But there’s more to EV1 than just liquor. Drinkers will also find flasks, shot glasses, chasers, mixers and other party goods. One wall is devoted to a spectrum of cigar choices.

And tucked into a dusty corner of the store, a basketball-sized pool of cool water will help you chill your new bottle of white wine right before you rush off to BYOB at Cozy Noodles and Rice just across the street.

Put it all together, and it’s clear why it’s good to be 1st.

– Tim Balk and Julia Jacobs

Best Place to Procrastinate & Landmark


Colin Boyle/Daily Senior Staffer

It’s Spring Quarter Finals Week, and it’s been almost six hours since you’ve seen the light of day outside Main Library. Gazing out a window from the fourth floor of periodicals, you see the sun reflecting off the waves of Lake Michigan. Grabbing your backpack, you decide you can’t sit inside any longer and head out to the Lakefill.

The crown jewel of Northwestern’s campus, the Lakefill, was once again crowned best landmark and also claimed the win for best place to procrastinate.

An iconic part of the Evanston campus, the man-made park was created in the early 1960s and the culture surrounding it has remained a staple of NU ever since. There’s no other place you’d rather hang your ENO hammock and show off your ukulele skills than the Lakefill.

On any of the rare 60-degree days, students can be found near the shores of the lake snapping photographs of the Chicago skyline or posting pictures to their Snapchat stories advertising how they are seizing the warm temperatures instead of finishing their econ problem sets.

As summer draws closer, frisbees are tossed on the Lakefill, bikers speed down the path and you might just make it out for a jog. After all, you haven’t exercised since January and it’s finally sunny. Are you using that as an excuse to avoid studying for your Stats 101 final? Maybe.

Plain and simple, the Lakefill is by far the best place to get nothing done.

– Amelia Langas

Best Bookstore

Bookends and Beginnings

David Lee/The Daily Northwestern

If you’re getting tired of reading nothing but textbooks and scholarly journals, it’s time to explore Bookends and Beginnings, voted best bookstore in Evanston for the second year in a row. Their vast collection covers anything you might need, including vintage editions and children’s literature in 26 languages.

But be careful — it’s easy to miss. Located in the alley behind Sherman Avenue, Bookends and Beginnings is about as indie as a bookstore can get, giving it the nickname, “the speakeasy of books.” Invisible from the street and hidden behind red brick walls, Bookends and Beginnings is Evanston’s Diagon Alley, magical and secretive.

A dim light illuminates the overflowing shelves, uneven wood floor and eclectic carpets. The soft smell of ink and paper permeates the store.

The bookstore has also become a community gathering space for literary minds. Since its opening in 2014, it has hosted a variety of events featuring authors and community leaders, including the Evanston Literary Festival.

Class can make reading seem like a drag, but Bookends and Beginnings will help you get back in touch with your younger self, the voracious reader lying on the grass for hours with a novel. The bibliophile in you is just down the alley.

– Caity Henderson

Best Place to People Watch


Colin Boyle/Daily Senior Staffer

Students have yearned for one does-it-all spot where it’s possible to find, in rapid succession, the person they followed on Instagram before Wildcat Welcome but still haven’t spoken to, that classmate who always has something to say in poli sci lecture, or the campus crush who they met in a sweaty basement last weekend and now avoid eye contact with.

But wait! Look no further! This magical, mystical place does exist: Norris University Center!

From my vantage point of the couch next to Norbucks, with the smell of coffee and midterm tears in the air, I can see all three. And as the best place to people watch on campus, there are plenty more characters to behold.

To my left, there is the Medill student going from table to table looking for victims to interview. To my right, the stressed out club interviewee and the gleeful interviewer (club interviews in week eight?). In front of me, there is a group of girls, iced coffees in hand, hard at work around a circle of laptops with Facebook and Twitter pulled up.

There is, of course, the rare engineer grinding on a problem set at the long table behind Norbucks, furiously sipping espresso and scribbling in a notebook.

Norris may not be here much longer, with the University scheduling renovations within the next few years. Only time will tell what will replace it as the best spot to pretend to do work while actually just looking around observing (for context, this article took me over a half hour to write because I was so intrigued by my surroundings).

For now, though, don’t forget to take a moment on the cozy couches to observe Wildcats in their most natural environment of coffee and procrastination.

– Rachel Kupfer

Best Place to Study


Colin Lynch/Daily Senior Staffer

In theory, Norbucks is an ideal place to be productive. The outlets are plentiful and the coffee flows freely (well, for a small fee). Clacking keys, steaming milk and mellow indie rock combine into a pleasant ambient soundscape.

But there always seems to be a catch.

A group project squad spreads itself out across four tables, forcing you to skulk around in the hopes of snagging a spare seat. You get caught in the backup of elderly alumni rushing the bathrooms after continuing education classes get out. You bump into every person you’ve never seen since Wildcat Welcome and just have to catch up. Norbucks (the Starbucks in Norris) can quickly scramble your plans until your “working hard” looks more like “hardly working.”

Still, at a school where everyone is constantly on the grind, perhaps some chunks of only moderate productivity are a necessary respite. The unpredictability of the Norbucks vibe is part of what makes it so endearing — as an anonymous Pinterest quote might tell you, “The Best Things Happen Unexpectedly.” For me, it’s been those random little moments — like being offered a teeny tiny sample frappuccino, or watching Willie the Wildcat pose for a holiday photoshoot — that have reached into the depths of my midterm anxiety to brighten my day.

So, if you’re aiming for maximum output, you might be better off in the pin-drop silence of periodicals in the library. If you’re willing to sacrifice some efficiency for good vibes and the chance of a delightful surprise, though, Norbucks is truly the place to be.

– Maddie Burakoff

Best Place for Northwestern Gear

Campus Gear

David Lee/The Daily Northwestern

You’ve probably seen the racks of clothing on Sherman Avenue. Maybe you’ve been intimidated by the strange mix of Cubs, Bears and Wildcats apparel outside. Or maybe it was when you peered inside the door of the dark store and saw the clothing practically went all the way up to the ceiling.

Don’t be afraid. Go in. Campus Gear, 1717 Sherman Ave., has all you’ll ever need to show your Northwestern (or Chicago) pride. In fact, it has all you would ever need and more. It’s no wonder the store won best place for Northwestern gear for the second year in a row.

Included in the overwhelming size of the store’s inventory are sports t-shirts for more than just football, postcards to send to your grandma, Wildcats onesies for your cousin’s new baby and laptop stickers for every NU school. Add to that lanyards, keychains, sweatpants, mugs, license plate covers and even wine glasses for your classy dinner party.

Campus Gear won’t necessarily break the bank either. While some things can run on the more expensive side, you can get a shirt for under $20 and winter hats or gloves for under $15. In short, Campus Gear is everything you need to find any NU apparel. And, if you want to become a last minute Cubs or Bears fan, Campus Gear is the place for you, too.

– Nora Shelly

Best Clothing Store

Crossroads Trading Co.

Alec Carroll/The Daily Northwestern

Crossroads Trading Co. is all the spunk and uniqueness for a portion of the cost of most other clothing shops in downtown Evanston. Featuring recycled, resale, vintage, consignment or thrift clothing, the shop always offers something different and distinctive to its customers.

Crossroads catches the eye of every fashionista as the company frequently features trendy outfit inspiration in the window of its 1730 Sherman Ave. storefront. The shop holds items for all price points from a large spectrum of designers. Labels range from American Eagle to Anthropologie, to Kate Spade.

While not quite your Wicker Park vintage shop, Crossroads style is more applicable to the gamut of Evanston residents. Crossroads inspires all burgeoning fashion gurus as they find a vintage pair of culottes or bright pink pumps.

Not only can you buy clothing, accessories and shoes from Crossroads, but you can also sell that dress you wore to formal once and never plan on wearing again. With a constantly rotating wardrobe, the store always offers something new.

And, the ultimate goal for every hipster style influencer: If you buy something from Crossroads, you can tell everyone who will eventually gush over it that you got it from a vintage shop.

– Julia Esparza

Best Grocery Store

Trader Joe's

Lauren Duquette/Daily Senior Staffer

For the third consecutive year, affordable prices and healthy options have made Trader Joe’s Evanston’s best grocery store.

Trader Joe’s, 1211 Chicago Ave., beat out its neighbor, Jewel-Osco, and downtown Whole Foods, among others, for the title. Trader Joe’s doesn’t match Whole Foods’ quality of produce, but sells in-house brands at reasonable prices.

If you haven’t mooched a Whole Foods employee discount card off a friend to get 20 percent off every purchase like this reporter has, the organic-obsessed store probably isn’t within your college budget. But if you have a car or are feeling up for the longer stroll to Trader Joe’s, the extra effort will be well rewarded. Friendly staff members are always accessible, and if you’re taking a good look at a product, an employee may even come around with a free sample.

Cooking isn’t your thing? Trader Joe’s has you covered. You can stock up on premade frozen meals like mac and cheese or wontons without breaking the bank. Can Trader Joe’s satisfy your sweet tooth? Yes (vegans included). A variety of vegan ice creams are among the copious sweet treats you can find while avoiding the vegetables in produce.

So as Winter Quarter comes to a close, take the journey down Chicago Avenue for anything from cheap wine to guiltless desserts to get through finals.

– Nikki Baim

Best Salon

Art + Science

Katie Pach/Daily Senior Staffer

Yet again, Art + Science was voted Evanston’s best salon, and there’s no question as to why.

When you walk into Art + Science, you know you’ll be well taken care of by your stylist, even if you have no idea what you want or how to describe what you want. There’s no better feeling than having complete trust that your stylist will make you look great.

The best part about the Chicago-based hair care company and chain of salons is the customer service. The stylists are personable, sweet and care about you and your hair.

Yes, the salon is pricey — with salon cuts starting at $60 and barber cuts starting at $48 — but the quality of service you receive makes it worth the price. Take advantage of their 10 percent off Wildcard discount, or better yet, use their referral program. If you refer a friend there and they mention your name when they go, you get 20 percent off your next visit.

Last spring, I went to my go-to stylist back home to dye my hair pink, but it wasn’t what I wanted. I was nervous to have someone dye my hair again. But minutes after I walked into the Evanston location, 1629 Orrington Ave., my mind was put at ease. Jamie — one of their colorists — called me her “unicorn princess” and dyed my hair to the exact color I wanted. I left that day feeling more confident than ever before, and I have Art + Science to thank for that.

It’s truly an experience, not just a haircut.

– Allie Goulding

Best of Evanston Editor
Amelia Langas
Published on
Feb. 28, 2018
Digital Managing Editor
Madeleine Fernando
Past Digital Projects Editors
Max Schuman
Benjamin Din
Published On
Feb. 28, 2018