To Go with Jo: The final feast


There’s absolutely no good way to start this column. And trust me, I would know. I’ve spent hours agonizing over how to begin, typing and deleting and typing and deleting until finally, my head just ends up in my hands. After four years on the Evanstonian, four whole years of interviewing, writing, editing and loving every second of it, you’d think by now I’d be a pro. Well, unfortunately for both of us, you’re wrong. 

This senior column, just like all of my other articles, and years of high school, is imperfect. The past four years have been filled with an immeasurable amount of tears– I’ve cried over the seemingly endless amount of schoolwork, the pandemic that rocked my extroverted world upside down, and the unrelenting pressure of feeling as though I need to look perfect and perform perfectly and my inability to be perfect. I’ve cried because I’ve felt lonely, burnt out, overwhelmed, and pissed off. But the past four years have also been filled with tears of joy and laughter, usually around a table of damn good eats. From fluffy, fresh bagels to perfectly seasoned, mouthwatering burritos, Evanston is not only home to an abundance of beautiful people and the best high school newspaper of all time, but also a culinary mecca that would make even Julia Child’s knees go weak. As excited as I am to leave, I’m unbelievably grateful I have so much to miss. 

So, for my final feast, and my last ever article in The Evanstonian, it’s only right that I pay homage to three of my favorite restaurants in Evanston. And to Sarah, Ellie, Grace, Brigid, Julia, Lulu and Eden, thank you for filling my meals with love. 

Bagel Art

According to the Book of Genesis, on the first day of creation, God made light. Then came the sky, the seas, the sun, you know the rest. But what Genesis fails to address is when God created Evanston’s own little slice of heaven: Bagel Art. 

Clearly, the first time I went to Bagel Art was a spiritual awakening. Now, many, many trips later, my order has been perfected to a tee: either a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich or an everything bagel with chive cream cheese. It’s a toss up, but I usually end up leaving with the ladder and an iced chai latte in hand. The pairing is an unrivaled match of savory and sweet, a mouthwatering emblem of harmony for my grateful taste buds. But aside from an amazing menu, a few other factors grant Bagel Art its title as my favorite eatery in Evanston. The proportions are always perfect, whether it be cream cheese to bagel or milk to iced chai. The bagels are always fresh and fluffy, warmed to perfection but not hot enough to send the cream cheese sliding away. Not once have I ever been disappointed with the food I’ve been given, something that cannot be said for many other restaurants out there. And just as important as the food itself, the bagel oasis is homey, local, and inviting. It’s been the home of morning debriefs after an entertaining night out, and the destination for a much needed carb pre-game before playing spikeball at Dempster. 

To put it simply, one of the coolest college essay prompts I heard this year was the question, what is the truest thing you know? Well, the truest thing I know is that Bagel Art on a sunny summer morning is a different kind of love.

Sea Ranch

If a genie flew out of my Nalgene right now and gave me three wishes, I know exactly what the first one would be. Spoiler alert… it’s not for more wishes. Instead, it would be to pluck Sea Ranch right up from its Dempster St. roots and bring the sushi haven with me to college. 

Say what you will, but pretty much no sushi, or even food for that matter, brings me more joy than a tightly packed California roll from Sea Ranch piled high with ginger. The fish lovers paradise is the ideal spot for a sushi lover x broke high school student; somehow, I average about $10 a meal for one of the most expensive cousines there is, and yet, the quality of the fish is always pristine. But price aside, Sea Ranch is so much more than just another one of Evanston’s many restaurants. It has the power to completely make my day, and contains a corner table packed with memories of good company and good eats that is incredibly bittersweet to leave behind. While I didn’t develop the courage to try sushi until a few years ago, so my relationship with the fishy delicacy is still fresh, it somehow feels like I’ve known Sea Ranch for my entire life. It’s just that good. 


The Beatles once said, “all you need is love.” But clearly, The Beatles never tried Gigio’s pizza.

Everything about Gigios exudes warmth, starting with the 800 degree pizza oven in the middle of the restaurant. It’s a welcoming solace from the icy, dark January nights, the perfect destination to gossip and kill time before a basketball game as my friends and I have done many times. The pizza palace is an Evanston staple, and for incredibly good reason. 

When noshing on a piece of Gigio’s pizza, you will notice three crucial factors that set the slice high above its competitors. To start off, the slice is big. If I’m dropping over $3 on a single slice of pizza, it better not only be great, but also substantially large. Luckily, a slice of Gigio’s checks both boxes, which brings me to point number two: sauce. A good pizza sauce is the main event on a slice of pizza. Of course, the cheese and crust are important, but in terms of taste, sauce should win gold. Gigio’s sauce does exactly that, packing a rich, seasoned tomato flavor that is reminiscent of a sweet cherry tomato popping in your mouth. And last, but most certainly not least, is the most important factor of all… the crust. Gigio’s crust is what truly sets it apart from the rest, and in my personal opinion, earns it the title as the best New York style pizza of the North Shore. Just like any good New York Style pizza crust, Gigio’s crust is thick enough to keep all of the contents of the pizza on the slice, but still requires the piece to be folded in order to properly take a bite. Even further, the outer crust is thick and chewy, but still maintains a crunchy outer shell. For those of you that don’t eat the outer crust (which saddens me, to be honest), even just the body of a slice of Gigio’s is enough to make me weep with joy. But the crust, oh the beautiful crust, is worthy of worship. As a self-proclaimed foodie, I take my pizza very seriously. And Gigios, I can confidently say, is easily the best pizza in the town.