23 Aug 2014
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Company Evanston Looks to Expand Local Following

Company Evanston Looks to Expand Local Following Company Evanston Looks to Expand Local Following

Since opening in February, Company Evanston has hosted plenty of sold out pop-up dinners, where area chefs come to show off a special menu. But the managers of the 18-seat event space at 1307 Chicago Ave. are still trying to get the word out.

“For Evanston citizens I don’t think they really know about it quite yet," said manager Maggie McGary. "We’re trying to be a place where people know they can count on a good meal, that they’re checking the site and seeing what’s coming next week.”

At companyevanston.com, diners can browse upcoming events such as a series of dinners from Homestead Meats and Deli butcher Andrea Deibler and chef Allison Scott of Hoosier Mama Pie Company running Jan. 23-26. They also use a mailing list to promote upcoming dinners, though so far most of the attendees have been hearing about them through word of mouth or the guest chefs themselves.

"Most of the chefs have a mailing list and a following," said manager Hana Samuels.

While they're hoping to bring in new customers, McGary said the concept has earned loyalty from both chefs and diners that have been there already.

"We’re getting a lot of chefs that want to return, a lot of people are sharing their experience," she said. "They go to the party and want to have their own event. I’ve heard really great feedback about the food they tasted, the company they’ve been in. I think it’s been all and all pretty positive.”

Chefs have been increasingly taking over the space for two to four days at a time and then returning to offer new menus. Company Evanston is booked nearly every weekend between pop ups and private parties, where the managers act as party planners and can find the hosts a chef for the event.

"This space has so much to offer and it’s just convenient," Samuels said. "We offer a lot of dishware that chefs and private parties can use to their advantage.”

While the space has been BYOB since opening, Company Evanston received a liquor license on Jan. 1, letting them offer cocktails along with the wine pairings they've been serving. Along with that change, they're also looking into having a residency program to allow some chefs to serve their more regularly.

“It’s always changing," McGary said. "There’s always something new being provided or being advanced in the space.”

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