Do you find yourself going to the same few restaurants in Evanston over and over again? Most of us do. While it’s easy to settle on Chipotle or Panera every time you go out to dinner, changing it up once and a while can be refreshing and momentarily burst your Northwestern bubble. Next time you have a hankering for some new and different food or scene, try Union Pizzeria.
Despite its walking distance from campus, when you step through the doors of Union Pizzeria, you’ll feel as though you were transported to a lively, cultural city – think New York or London. They took a relatively plain and unassuming space, essentially a warehouse, and transformed it into art. There is a perfectly balanced mix of raw, unfinished aspects and sleek, modern décor. Exposed brick breaks up the monotony of a standard wall treatment and strategically placed track lighting highlights the piping and wood planks that make up the unexpectedly high ceiling. The cluster of pendant lighting over the bar, however, demands the attention of the entire venue. The layout of the restaurant flows seamlessly from the plush lounge area, where patrons are accommodated first come first serve; to the long curving bar, where people talk, eat and drink while they wait for a table; to the main dining area, where energetic conversation is punctuated by the most important part of the Union Pizzeria experience: the food.
If there is ever a time to treat yourself to a three course meal, this is it. It would be impossible to decide which course to sacrifice. The meal comes together beautifully if you get a couple pizzas for the table, supplement with individual small plates and end with dessert – it’s mandatory! I started with the Avgolemono soup, made with chicken, lemon, egg, rice and dill. I was surprised to find that it was basically a classic chicken soup, revamped, but in a very successful way. The rice and egg gave the soup a little more body than a traditional broth and the dill kicked in with some exotic flavor at the end.
At a restaurant where they serve wood-fired pizza, I can never resist trying the Margherita, so I didn’t. The combination of tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella was flawless and kept me reaching for another slice. However, if you are more adventurous in your pizza preferences, you can choose from a selection ranging from Lamb Sausage to Ratatouille.
Despite the excellent performance of the first two courses, dessert proved to be the highlight of the meal. After eating a bit more pizza than we probably should have, we luckily found a dessert to split: the Polenta Pound Cake with Peach Compote and Whipped Cream. It was…perfect. The cake’s taste and texture were somewhere between cornbread and a classic pound cake, but the sweetness was amped up by the whipped cream and the peach compote. It’s something you just have to try once, even if you’re a little ambivalent.
In terms of food and atmosphere, Union Pizzeria is pretty ideal. However, a meal there will probably be a little pricier than your go-to Evanston dinner, although definitely worth it. Also, note that they don’t accept reservations, so you may want to call ahead to see how busy they are (they are very helpful with this in my experience). You can also check out their Sunday brunch, which I hear is expectedly amazing.
Sunday 4 – 10 p.m.
Monday – Thursday 4:30 – 11 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 4:30 – 12 a.m.
Monday – Saturday:
The kitchen opens at 5 p.m. and the last hour is pizza menu only with seating in the lounge and bar.
1245 Chicago Avenue Evanston, IL 60202