Hummingbird Kitchen, the mobile sibling of Evanston’s Campagnola and Union Pizzeria, has emerged from Evanston City Council purgatory with a new ordinance that allows them to cook food to order on the state-of-the art mobile kitchen.
There was some concern from a few local restaurateurs – mostly in the Noyes Street business district, close to Evanston’s City Hall – as to the effect Hummingbird could have on their existing business, and this caused the delay in Council. But the ordinance passed on September 13, and the folks behind Hummingbird Kitchen couldn’t be more delighted.
Heather Behm, Steve Schwartz and Chef Vince DiBattista are all partners in the popular Union Pizzeria, which was a hit from the word go. They’re hoping that lightning will strike twice with their new venture.
“We don’t want to hurt brick and mortar restaurants. We’ll probably park in front of our own restaurants (neither Union nor Campagnola is open for lunch) to begin with and see how it’s received,” says Schwartz. “It’s a fun thing. We hope it will generate people who are curious, who haven’t been to Evanston. Our goal is not to put people out of business, but to bring people to the city we love.”
The Kitchen itself is a big part of the draw. The inside of the truck is impressive, with a lot of shiny, new equipment packed into a relatively small space. The fryer churns out perfect fries; the griddle flips juicy organic burgers, chicken, and perfect panini. A 12-burner gas stove, reach-in refrigeration, steam table and two ovens vie for attention from Chef Vince and his crew.
And we know first hand how delicious the food will be. MIB was lucky to have an exciting lunchtime preview in August. The menu included a chilled market tomato gazpacho; fresh green bean salad; organic burger with fixin’s; grilled veggie sandwich with tapenade; a grilled chicken sandwich smeared with white bean puree and layered with watercress and sliced radishes; and their delicious Valrhona chocolate panna cotta.
They’re planning to hit the streets as soon as possible. Look for them in Evanston; you can follow their progress online at www.hummingbirdkitchen.com or on Twitter. They’re already busy with private catering gigs… such a fun idea for your party or tailgate. And of course, have wheels will travel!