One of my favorite restaurants of all time is in Evanston: Bat 17. I frequent Bat so often and love it for so many reasons that I would call it an unhealthy obsession if the menu didn’t feature so many vegetarian options. Ba-dum-ching.

I think the best part about Bat 17 is no matter how often I go, it always feels like a treat. Half of the space is a family-friendly, cozy, casual restaurant with tables both expansive and intimate, and plenty of large TVs mounted on the wall for your sports-viewing pleasure. Still, unless you’re at Bat during a Chicago or Northwestern sporting event, the TVs are easy to ignore if sports aren’t your style. The other half of Bat is a full-on sports bar. One wall is painted as a panorama of Ryan Field during game day, another wall features basketball coach Chris Collins very determinedly clapping. He’s fantastically encouraging when you’re trying to finish your sliders.

I like that the restaurant is family owned and not a chain, and that the menu has every type of food you could ever crave — breakfast all day, burgers, salads, fish, chicken, sandwiches and most importantly, sweet potato fries — and be warned, the portions are huge. For me, Bat basically serves comfort food with the added benefit of providing gluten-free options. The atmosphere also hits the right note between lively and relaxing, and I’ve had a great time with all sized parties. Bat is a particularly fun place to meet up with friends you haven’t seen after winter break or a quarter abroad; it definitely has Northwestern spirit — there’s plenty of purple on the wall. My favorite meal would have to be either the bison burger with sweet potato fries, or the burrito version of the Diego Rivera balawat (breakfast sandwich) with fruit on the side. Of course, I would be seriously remiss if I didn’t mention the restaurant’s unlimited free coffee, which is also available while you wait for a table. There is absolutely nothing better than unlimited free coffee.

This is the perfect restaurant for every occasion in Evanston. The restaurant’s multiple awards paper the walls, and it’s hard to beat Bat’s creative menu and Northwestern-friendly personality. I would go on, but I’m getting really hungry.

–Ava Wallace

photo: Bat 17 Facebook.

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