Evanston Pour adds a shot of caffeine to the Main-Dempster Mile

The diverse selection of culinary delights on the Main-Dempster Mile got a little richer this year with the opening of Evanston Pour, 528 Dempster Street, in late February. Both a local coffee hub and a European wine bar, Evanston Pour has the welcoming atmosphere of a “Cheers” neighborhood.

A cheering crowd of more than 50 turned out on Saturday afternoon to celebrate the grand opening of Evanston Pour, with co-owner Jen Stumbaugh cutting the blue ribbon with comic scissors provided by the Chamber of Commerce. Co-owners Mike Sieja, Eric and Seren Payne and their husband John Stumbaugh watched from the sidelines.

Family and friends celebrate the grand opening of Evanston For Saturday July 30th. Credit: Wendi Kromach

John Stumbaugh designed the interior space himself, as well as the Evanston Pour logo. Painted a rich blue, the walls elevate the once drab interior to a chic design, which works just as well for a casual coffee klatch during the day or a cozy adults-only evening. Jen sourced lots of repurposed furniture from the restaurant, including chairs from a church and other finds online.

Along with chic blue walls and moldings, a rotating array of Evanston artist paints, provided through a partnership with Evanston Made, decorate the walls. Previously, the works of the Cie Bond added a beautiful touch of color to the walls; today the paintings feature works by Nina Weiss. All works of art are available for sale, with new works presented every four to six weeks.

John said the menu was designed by an Evanston-based food and drink expert, and the wine selection was curated by the owner of the recently closed Vinic Wine Company. The venue offers a robust coffee and tea menu, as well as a selection of small plates, mostly salads and sandwiches, for hungry patrons to snack on while working on laptops, chatting with friends or enjoying the weather at one of the eight blue outdoor tables. The beer menu includes draft selections from Sketchbook, Temperance, and other Chicago-area breweries, as well as bottled beer.

T-shirts with the Pour logo are available for purchase at the counter, along with Pour Pride t-shirts and buttons. Stumbaugh’s daughter, Elya, designed the Evanston Pour Pride logo, and all proceeds from the Pour Pride t-shirts and buttons go to Evanston Pride.

A live performance on July 23 with singer-songwriter Al Day and pianist Bob Long was such a hit that the owners of Pour are looking for new ways to use the space. Future possibilities include late night hours to accommodate SPACE spectators and rental options for private functions or community events such as book groups or game nights.

Before the dedication, the Stumbaughs thanked Mayor Biss, the Evanston City Council, the city’s building and inspection departments, and the Evanston Chamber of Commerce for their help and support.

With so many businesses closed over the past two years due to the COVID lockdown, a new culinary venue in the center of the Main-Dempster Mile is something to celebrate.

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