Evanston’s Big Bite Night 2014: Free Food 4 Freshman!







Your wish is Evanston’s command. This weekend, ~36 restaurants in the downtown area gave away free samples to Northwestern freshman, in what is fondly known among the 2018 class as “Big Bite Night”.

36 restaurants? Evanston is huge, but these restaurants are spread out within a easily walk-able half-mile radius or so.

Restaurants set up tables and booths out on the streets and often had lines out the door. Trash cans were overflowing with disposable containers, and pedestrians were inches away from being hit by bikes and cars as they excitedly navigated their way around Clark St., Sherman Ave., Orrington, and the like.

Evanston and NU have partnered up to showcase the best the college town has to offer in food, a wonderful representation of Evanston’s “diverse restaurant scene”.

The main point of the event? To get freshmen acquainted with restaurants that they hadn’t yet visited during the two weeks or so they’d been on campus.

From Esquire: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/food-for-men/grilled-cheese-chicago

Is that what happened? Yes, but I also saw a fair amount of people go back to Cheesie’s for another quarter of a Caprese.

I only had an hour to spend (obligations,  yo) but luckily, everyone else had a total of two hours to walk around. I managed to visit 13 restaurant in 60 minutes, which equates to ~4.6 minutes per restaurant, including walking time. Not bad, eh?

My, the town was hustling and bustling. Mobs of students waited outside of especially popular restaurants (think: Cheesie’s, Todoroki, Dave’s Italian Andy’s, Flat Top) for just a bite of the best Evanston food.

Creperie Saint German gave out slices of chocolate crepes!

Edzo’s handed out truffle fries!

Olive Mountain allowed students to sample smooth and creamy hummus with a slice of pita and a piece of falafel, which was perfectly cooked, for the record.

Zoba Noodle Bar provided classic crab rangoon with sweet and sour sauce, while 527 Café passed out pieces of popcorn chicken and sips of bubble tea.

This two-hour event was a great way to find out not only which restaurants were good, but also which restaurants were where. It was for first years to dip their toes into the pond called Evanston, for babies to take their first steps, and <insert other foot-related metaphor>.

Big Bite Night has been an ongoing tradition on campus for many years now, and I can see what all the hype is about.

Still, many people that I talked about had no clue what event I was talking about. I wouldn’t complain though…more food for me!

My top tips:

  • Get there early. We arrived ~2:55PM, and there was already a sizeable line at the registration table.
  • Make a game plan. Don’t just walk around looking for tables.
  • Map it out. You are supplied with a map showing which restaurants are participating in Big Bite Night; start at one end of downtown and make your way to the other end. Be efficient, folks.
  • Be decisive. If there’s a long-ass line that refuses to move because the table is waiting on food from the kitchen, and there’s only 20 minutes left in the night (which, by the way, should be a holiday), then you better decide quick if this steaming hot slice of Dave’s is worth a piece of sushi from Sashimi Sashimi and a sip of soup from Celtic Knot.

3 thoughts on “Evanston’s Big Bite Night 2014: Free Food 4 Freshman!

    1. I’ve never been to a food event like it before! It’s just restaurants handing out bite sizes of their signature dishes. Really cool! I’m sure lots of other cities also have similar events if you can’t make it out. Thanks for reading!


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