Evanston will soon welcome farm-to-table restaurant Thomas and Dutch to its 703 Church Street location in early 2023. Its owners, Thomas “TJ” Callahan and Ferdia “Dutch” Doherty, are the minds behind the former Farmhouse Evanston that boasted 36 craft beer tabs, however, their new restaurant will change gears to cocktails and wine.
“We had 36 craft beer taps at Farmhouse Evanston. Craft beer was huge at that time but the world has changed and craft beer is becoming ubiquitous,” Callahan said. “So what has happened in recent years is a strong shift in alcoholic beverage sales from craft beer toward craft cocktails and wine.”
Despite this shift, Callahan said craft beer lovers can still explore Thomas and Dutch’s 12 craft beer tabs. The restaurant will also feature cider from Wisconsin-based The Cider Farm, which comes from trees designated for cider.
“They have 17,000 organic cider apple orchards and these apple trees are from the European cider apple varieties,” Callahan said. “Most American ciders are made from the same apples you see at the supermarket, but that’s not what these people grow. These apples are only for making cider.”
Callahan owns a farm in Mineral Point, Wisconsin that neighbors one of The Cider Farm’s orchards. His 120-acre farm grows pears, asparagus, apples and more — joining the restaurant’s theme of fresh ingredients.
“The idea was to serve dishes from the four states that touch Illinois, Midwestern craft beer, all craft liquor with food was made from scratch serving lunch and dinner,” he said.
Callahan said the co-owners look forward to opening the restaurant in Evanston. He said he hopes the city will help the restaurant thrive and looks forward to ingraining deeper roots with its residents through Thomas and Dutch.
“Evanston is a fabulous place to do business,” he said. “We’re literally across the street from Northwestern University so that’s a tremendous asset. We’re at ground zero in a super kind of upscale community. For me, that’s a no-brainer to try to figure out something that will succeed for many years.”
The restaurant is getting ready for its new look compared to the former Farmhouse Evanston. 80% of the old restaurant’s materials were donated to Ukrainian families, reused at other restaurants or sent to recycling centers in California.
“From talking to the people that we work with and we identified Ukrainian refugees that had come to Chicago with very little so we brought them in and told them to take what they need,” Callahan said. “It was nice to see something positive occur from the farmhouse closing, even if it’s small like some young family now having a kitchen table.”
For a taste of what Doherty and Callahan have done in the past, check out their other restaurant in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood — The Farm Bar. The Midwest-style, farm-to-table restaurant is located at 1300 West Wellington Avenue.
Corey Schmidt is a freelancer reporter with Pioneer Press.