Associated Student Government The Community Relations Committee is partnering with local businesses to organize Evanston Restaurant Week from April 11-15.
North West students can present their Wildcard for discounts or a free item at 13 participating restaurants including La Cocinita, 10Q Chicken or Ovo Frito. Most discounts range from around 10-20%.
Through Restaurant Week, ASG hopes to connect students to the greater Evanston community, according to Weinberg Jr. and ASG President of Community Relations Mychael Torres. She said she hopes students will use the week to support local businesses.
The community relations committee took inspiration from other colleges when planning Evanston Restaurant Week, Torres said. Members launched a survey and visited companies in person to gauge interest in collaborating.
“Something we’ve heard from Evanson is that they want to (do) well with the business side,” Torres said. “So we’re trying to help do that.”
Weinberg’s freshman, Madeleine Tutwiler, is a member of the community relations committee and has helped work on the initiative. Tutwiler said she first joined the committee because she knew very little about the Evanston community and wanted to change that, which she says likely rings true for many students.
The week allows students to try new restaurants with the added bonus of a discount, she said.
“I feel like there’s a big disconnect between residents of Evanston and students in the North West, and especially with businesses, I feel like we’re not really a part of their culture,” Tutwiler said. “This is an opportunity for North West students to become more engaged with small businesses in Evanston and hopefully mend the bad feelings between us and them.”
Local restaurants, like Soul & Smoke, appreciate NU student business and have it around, co-owner Heather Bublick said. Soul & Smoke will be offering 10% off during the week.
She said she was thrilled with the increase in student business after spring break. As student affairs come and go throughout the year, Soul & Smoke also hosts events with NU sports teams and clubs, Bublick added.
“We love partnering with Northwestern,” Bublick said. “Any time we can engage with the student population, it’s always good.”
The committee is optimistic about success. Torres said she hopes to see many students participate during the week, although she recognizes some inhibiting factors such as proximity to off-campus restaurants or unsavory weather conditions.
Torres and Tutwiler said Evanston Restaurant Week could inspire students to venture beyond typical student venues.
“We’re not necessarily like on campus or downtown,” Bublick said of Soul & Smoke’s Payne Street location. “But hopefully the students will go out and check out some of the other neighborhoods and some of the other newer restaurants in town.”
Restaurant owners can also post a photo of their trip to their story with #ERW2022 for a chance to win a prize if they tag ASG’s Instagram account and the restaurant.
Tutwiler said connecting with restaurants throughout Evanston Restaurant Week could create benefits beyond the week. She said she hopes a successful event will encourage restaurants to stay open later and increase late-night dining options for students.
Torres has noticed that many restaurants close at 10 p.m., which can be frustrating when she’s studying late or has a late rehearsal, she said.
“The more we engage certain companies, the more they will be encouraged to engage with us in this way,” Torres said. “We’re just trying to create some sort of symbiotic relationship.”
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