Evanston restaurant provides health-focused menu
Customers eat lunch at the Blind Faith Cafe on Nov. 16. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Busienss: Blind Faith Café
Where: 525 Dempster St. in Evanston
Hours of operation: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday
Updated: December 23, 2012 6:25AM
EVANSTON — Evanston’s Blind Faith Café has been satisfying the appetites of North Shore vegetarians for more than three decades with a health-focused, plant-based menu filled with globally diverse entrees, homemade baked goods and fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies.
Blind Faith Café owner and Evanston native David Lipschutz opened the restaurant in 1979 after he moved back to the North Shore after living in the west coast for a few years.
“I’ve been a vegetarian since I was in my teens, and Blind Faith Café is a reflection and an extension of my lifestyle and values,” Lipschutz said. “After living in the health-conscious west coast region, I realized there were so few vegetarian options back here in the Chicago area.”
Without any real business experience to speak of, Lipschutz took a chance and opened the café on a whim, or what his friends called a leap of faith.
“I was sitting around asking people if they thought I was crazy to go into the restaurant business,” Lipschutz said. “For me it came down to having the faith to pursue a dream even though you don’t know what the outcome will be.”
Thirty-three years later that faith has taken his business a long way. Blind Faith Café has become somewhat of an institution in the downtown Evanston community over the years, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner to more than 3,000 customers per week on average.
Everything served at Blind Faith Café is made in-house, from house-made dressings and fresh-baked breads to homemade chili and sweet potato fries.
Focused on global, seasonal cuisine, the menu offers a diverse selection of foods from around the world so customers don’t have to settle on just one category of cuisine.
Diners in the mood for Mexican food can order a black bean tostada topped with melted cheese, lettuce, tomato and guacamole, while someone else at the table can satisfy a craving for Asian fusion with a Bibim Bop Rice Bowl with spicy grilled seitan and marinated vegetables.
Two seasonal menus — one for spring and summer and one for fall and winter — are rotated throughout the year.
A customer favorite during the cold months, Lipschutz said, is the Shiitake Walnut Loaf, which is a vegetable grain loaf served on vegetable gravy with a mash of roasted sweet potatoes and winter squash topped with cranberry chutney.
“We’re different from other restaurants offering meatless options because everything is made fresh and there’s a choice of 15 different entrees,” Lipschutz said. “At many other places vegetarian choices are limited to pizza, pasta and salad.”
A huge selection of fresh-baked gluten-free and vegan sweets, such as the maple spice and the mango cheesecake, make the perfect end to a vegetarian meal.
For Lipschutz, the success of his business is owed to three things: Being passionate about what you do, and focusing on quality and consistency.
“I think it’s unusual for a restaurant to have had this long of a run and still be flourishing after so long,” Lipschutz said. “People keep coming back because when they eat here they feel good about themselves and about their bodies.”