“Growing up, my mom always set an extra plate at our table for dinner,” Joshua Lee Keating said. “Almost every night, the seat was full with somebody that stopped by.” Keating is the executive chef and owner of Stacked & Folded, with locations in Evanston and Winnetka, and leads his restaurants with the same welcoming hospitality as his mother did in their home. This year marks his Winnetka venue’s seventh year of business and Evanston’s fourth.

“This restaurant is my home, these customers are my guests and this staff is my family,” he said.

Keating said he is grateful to have survived the pandemic while other restaurants are no longer in business. His goal for the upcoming year is to “give back to the communities that served us so well.”

Stacked & Folded implemented a donation feature with online orders where customers can round up their total cost, and the difference goes to World Central Kitchens. In February and March, the campaign raised nearly $2,000, and Keating said he anticipates more from the April and May sums. Stacked & Folded’s online fund is just the start of Keating’s commitment to give back.

Previously an executive chef at restaurants across Chicago and California, Keating gets “emotional thinking about the beginning” of Stacked & Folded. He is proud of his restaurant’s “community-based” efforts, since “Evanston small businesses are one big ecosystem.”

Throughout the pandemic, Stacked & Folded donated over 3,700 meals across Evanston’s hospitals, fire and police departments and senior homes. Average orders contained 100 meals.

Betsy Winick

While describing his generosity towards the Evanston population, Keating said, “Our community would not be complete without Northwestern students.” He ensures the students feel welcomed and supported by Stacked & Folded with student-friendly deals.

At the restaurant, students can show their Wildcards for a 10% discount on their meal. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Stacked & Folded’s new loyalty program offers double points for meals, and customers can also Buy-One-Get-One free between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on those days. Keating said students use the BOGO deal to eat lunch and study at Stacked & Folded and then take a free meal home for their dinner later.

Customers can visit Stacked & Folded on Tuesdays from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. for open-mic night with $5 cocktails and $2.5 single-slice pizza. On Thursdays, the restaurant hosts trivia from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. with more cocktails, pizza and $7 bites. The restaurant’s happy hour goes from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Tuesday through Friday and features $6 bar bites, $5 glasses of wine, $6 cocktails and more.

Betsy Winick

Keating plans to meet Northwestern student needs even more in coming months with a new breakfast menu. Students can soon pick up “grab-n-go” options at Stacked & Folded on their way to class in the mornings and get a discount for online orders placed in advance.

While reflecting on Stacked and Folded’s history and future aspirations, Keating insisted he is here to support the Evanston and Winnetka communities in any way he can. He said, “I can’t think of a richer life than that.”

Betsy Winick

Photos courtesy of Joshua Lee Keating and Stacked & Folded.