Karli Goldenberg

Evanston's Essential Eats

Karli Goldenberg
Evanston's Essential Eats

Yeah, you could eat dorm food every day, but why not treat yourself sometimes? Whether you’re craving mediterranean food, a smoothie bowl or just a cup of coffee, STITCH has got you covered. We’ve compiled a list of Evanston’s must-have restaurants, coffee shops and sweet spots.


Olive Mediterranean Grill:

If you love Mediterranean food, Olive should be your go-to. The Persian yogurt is so good that they sell it in individual tubs, and the O.M.G sandwiches come with a warm pita stuffed with fresh, hot food.

Fun fact: I love Olive so much I was actually worried that I wouldn’t like going there anymore after going on a trip to the Middle East and tasting actual Mediterranean food. Sounds silly, right? Well, thankfully, my fears of losing my love of Olive were unfounded.

What to eat: Chicken kebab sandwich and the spinach and feta mini-pita pie.

What to wear: You can’t go wrong with a pair of  ripped jeans, black booties, a shirt that makes you feel confident and a badass leather jacket.

Peeled: On a hot day, nothing beats an ice-cold smoothie. Peeled, Evanston’s most popular juice bar, offers everything from favorites like the Strawberry Letter to the more satiating Chocolate Factory.

Peeled itself rocks an earthy, cozy vibe with chalk drawings covering the walls, fruit lining the space behind the cashiers and rocking chairs near the entrance, so you can take a moment for yourself amid the difficulties of the quarter system.

Peeled will always remind me of morning, sunshine and a vague sense of relaxation, since I almost always go there after sunrise yoga with my sister. There really isn’t  a better way to start the day than spending time with someone you love, taking care of yourself physically and rewarding yourself for it with Peeled.

What to eat: The Chocolate Factory smoothie and the I Love Life açaí bowl.

What to wear: Your favorite athleisure-inspired outfit will blend in with the foodies that frequent Peeled.

Coffee shops:


If white marble is your aesthetic, which let’s be honest, it probably is, then you need to go to Cupitol. With a menu full of sweet and savory brunch options, you really can’t go wrong.

I love going anywhere that makes me feel like a classy lady, and Cupitol certainly does that. With decor like wooden tables, oversized lighting, brick walls with white paint and white marble tables, it’s so Instagram-able it hurts.

Cupitol reminds me of hanging on to the last bit of the weekend left on Sunday afternoons, and what better way to do that than with friends and food? I’ve spent many a Sunday at Cupitol, and it’s always a good time.

What to eat: Nutella latte and berry mascarpone french toast.

What to wear: Be sure to wear trendy leggings, Adidas sneakers, a jean jacket and your favorite oversized sunglasses. Bring a neutral handbag to give a sophisticated vibe to your outfit.

Backlot Coffee:

After a long bike ride, you would probably think that I’d be reaching for something healthy to eat. That’s where you’re wrong.

I prefer to indulge and reward myself for what feels like a biking accomplishment, even though it’s only two or three miles. So, naturally, I order the spiced hot chocolate.  

Backlot also has adorable latte art, with everything from hearts to winking bears gracing the top of the lattes. With thoughtful signs like the one at the entrance that says, “Thanks a latte,” Backlot is sure to win you over, especially if you like a good pun. Its calming oceanic paintings and natural lighting make it the perfect mini-escape from Northwestern and an ideal study or date space.

What to order: Spiced hot chocolate or a latte.

What to wear: Break out some classic white sneakers, a pair of mom jeans and your favorite shirt or sweatshirt that makes you feel like the coffee shop hipster you’ve always wanted to be.

Sweet Spots:

Great Harvest Bread Company: Growing up, my mom would sometimes come home with a giant round of apple scrapple bread from Great Harvest. It was layered with crumbles on top and had apple slices baked into it. My whole family loved it, so it would never last more than a few days before the entire round was gone.

Imagine my surprise once I got slightly older and realized that the very same apple scrapple bread I had grown up with was only a bike ride away. Naturally, being the food-motivated person that I am, I hopped onto my bike and rode over to get some of the sweet treat.

The apple scrapple bread is just as amazing as I remember. The light crunch from the crumbles on top and the sweetness of the bread and apples brings me back home every time I eat it.

What to order: Apple scrapple bread and chocolate chip mini-scone.

What to wear: Great Harvest has a comfy vibe, so break out your favorite leggings, an oversized sweatshirt and your comfortable gym shoes for the ride over.

Insomnia Cookies:

Yeah, you could bake your own cookies, but once you smell the waft of chocolate and sugar from Insomnia, you won’t want to.

There’s always the classic chocolate chip cookie, but the s’mores cookie is worth it, so treat yourself! With a fresh variety of melt-in-your-mouth cookies in a bunch of sizes, Insomnia hits the spot, especially during a quarter system-induced late night of studying.

When I think of insomnia, I think of that feeling I get at around 1 A.M.—the unmistakable need for a freshly-baked cookie. As much as I love baking, there is no way that I’m going to bake then. So, instead, I walk over to Insomnia and buy myself a few cookies.

What to eat: Mint chip cookie or a “six pack” if you’re feeling adventurous.

What to wear: Insomnia Cookies is a relaxed place, so I usually rep comfy sweatpants, a hoodie and those shoes in the back of my closet from high school that I still wear, even though it’s probably time to get rid of them.

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