The Homestead Room: Background

New to the charming 1600 block of Hinman Avenue is the long-awaited Graduate Homestead Room restaurant. The name pays homage to the historic Homestead Hotel, which once sat where the Graduate Hotel now stands. From decor to decadent dishes, nostalgia is highlighted in all aspects of the location.

Sara Frank

The ambient lighting, brick fireplace and plaid accents draw you into the welcoming atmosphere. Comfy leather booths lining the walls are the perfect place for families and friends to share a meal.

Joe Dincer-Ubl, the restaurant’s food and beverage manager said, “We want it to be a very group-friendly gathering area for both neighborhood [residents and] hotel guests.” Cozy-yet-sophisticated, the Graduate Homestead Room is an excellent place for parents and students to enjoy during the upcoming Northwestern Family Weekend.

Sara Frank

The Menu

Dincer-Ubl described the classic American fare as comforting and approachable. “Shareables” like Buffalo Fried Cauliflower and Pigs in a Blanket are great for the table, or go for the more filling “Smash Burger” (a must-try Graduate staple) and Bacon Macaroni & Cheese. The diverse and flavorful menu has something for everyone, steak and salad lovers alike!

Choose from a variety of playful refreshments, including John Hughes inspired cocktails, and crave-worthy desserts. Every needs a skillet cookie or a slice of seasonal pie! I went with my personal favorites: Crispy Brussel Sprouts and a Grilled Cheese Sandwich — complete with tomato jam and three types of cheese.

The Wet Bandits

I started the night with a “Home Alone”-inspired cocktail, called The Wet Bandits. A mix of strawberry vodka, cranberry soda, fresh basil and lemon, this sweet and delicious drink went down easy.

Sara Frank

Crispy Brussel Sprouts

A frequent sprout enthusiast myself, these Crispy Brussel Sprouts hit the spot. Perfectly flakey and crunchy, the addition of balsamic glaze took the flavor profile to new heights. The appetizer can be enjoyed with or without bacon to accommodate dietary needs.

Buffalo Fried Cauliflower

Cauliflower has taken the restaurant industry by storm, popular everything from tacos to pizza crust, but this Buffalo Fried Cauliflower stood out among the rest. An arguably “healthy” fried dish thanks to the vegetables, these cauliflower florets were the right kind of dry and crisp and weren’t swimming in an unwanted amount of sauce. A dash of tangy Frank’s Red Hot complemented the buffalo without overpowering the dish. Those with a sophisticated palette will also enjoy the blue cheese topping. Overall, these bites were easily a favorite of the evening.

Sara Frank

Cobb Salad

I went into the Cobb Salad with high hopes, ready for the grilled corn and avocado, but was ultimately disappointed. Though refreshing, my two favorite ingredients were few and far between. My addition of grilled chicken added more sustenance to the bed of romaine, but I was left craving a better veggie option. Perhaps there’s another salad on the menu worth exploring.

Sara Frank

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Stuffed with cheddar, pepper jack and American cheese, this sandwich was no joke. A schmear of savory tomato jam (which leaned more towards the sweeter side) added an extra touch to an old favorite. Paired with a side of crinkle cut fries, perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside (swoon), even your pickiest eaters will be satisfied.

Sara Frank

The Verdict

The Graduate Homestead Room offers a mix of nostalgic classics and trendy bites sure to cement its place as an Evanston staple. The menu, catered towards residents, families and students alike, evokes the feeling of comfort with an adventurous flare. The cozy atmosphere envelopes diners into a world of warmth and delicious eats. The Graduate Homestead Room should be on your radar as a place to enjoy a meal in the company of loved ones.