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Village of Wilmette Special E-News

February 1, 2024

Economic Development

Economic development continues to be a major focus of the Village Board, and the Village wants to share a number of updates with the community.

200 Skokie Boulevard (formerly Baker’s Square)

On January 9, the Village Board voted unanimously to deny McDonald’s application for a drive-thru restaurant at this location. The Board’s decision was grounded in the fact that a high-volume drive-thru operating 14+ hours a day was not appropriate at this location given the close proximity to residential properties. 

The Village is working cooperatively with the property owner to identify uses which will be more appropriate for the site and serve as a valued amenity for the neighborhood. 

New Business Updates

We have a number of new businesses that have recently opened or will be joining our community soon. Included below are new and exciting dining options and the continuation of our downtown retail renaissance with many new retail destinations added in the past year:

Now Open

Dimavera Hair Salon (1150 Wilmette Avenue, Downtown Wilmette) has recently relocated from the arcade building at Plaza del Lago to Downtown Wilmette inside the Baker Building.

Ichi (3217 Lake Avenue, West Lake Plaza) is the new spinoff restaurant from the owners of Torino Ramen and is now open. Serving Japanese fare, including ramen and bao, Ichi is focused on take-out orders.  

Ni’s Kitchen (708 12th Street, Downtown Wilmette) is now open. Visit Ni’s for excellent pho, banh mi sandwiches, and other Vietnamese favorites. 

Pizza by Sal (1133 Greenleaf Avenue, Downtown Wilmette) is expanding to offer sit-down service. Pizza by Sal is a neighborhood joint that gives the nod to the New York pizza shop experience.

Taverna Naxos (111 Green Bay Road) has some of the most unique flavors from the Grecian Isles. With delicious combinations of ingredients, there is something for everyone to enjoy!

Vibrato Boutique (1152 Wilmette Avenue, Downtown Wilmette) is now open in downtown Wilmette, having moved their boutique from Plaza del Lago to the Baker Building. 

Opening Soon

EvaDean’s Bakery and Café (1115 Central Avenue, Downtown Wilmette) is anticipated to open on February 19 with outdoor dining in Veteran’s Park available to all visitors as soon as the weather warms. You can visit their website here to learn more about their breakfast/ lunch/bakery services and see their menus.

Fajita Pete’s (3207 Lake Avenue, West Lake Plaza) is expected to open their delivery/carryout restaurant within the next 30 days. They will offer a variety of fresh fajitas for your next gathering. 

Patrician Gallery & Gatherings (1135 Central Avenue, Downtown Wilmette) is currently constructing their new art gallery in the former Morning Glory Flower Shop space. Stay tuned for an opening date!

Under Development

Jersey Mike’s (3207 Lake Avenue, West Lake Plaza) will be before the Village’s Zoning Board of Appeals on February 21 seeking special use approval to open a sandwich restaurant in the eastern section of West Lake Plaza.

Small Cheval (1139 Wilmette Avenue, Downtown Wilmette) is targeting a late summer opening. Small Cheval will serve burgers, fries, and milkshakes for al fresco and to-go dining. Small Cheval’s exterior improvements for outdoor dining have been approved by the Village and they are working with the Village’s Historic Preservation and Appearance Review Commissions to ensure signage is appropriate for this important local landmark. 

Torino Ramen (1162 Wilmette Avenue, Downtown Wilmette) has plans to expand into the former All Washed Up space. Timing of the improvements will be shared when available.

Chalet Nursery (3132 Lake Avenue) will be undertaking an expansion to provide additional retail area as well as expand the garden center and complete a full remodel of the exterior of the buildings. Also planned are changes to the site landscaping, hardscape, and parking layout.


Wayfair, the Boston-based e-commerce retailer and one of the world’s largest destinations for home, is looking forward to welcoming shoppers to its first large-format brick and mortar retail store when it opens this spring. The 150,000+ square foot store will offer a seamless shopping experience with an abundance of choices across every style, every space, and every budget – with exceptional service and fast, seamless delivery. The Wayfair hiring center is currently open next to Walgreens in Edens Plaza.

Village representatives recently had the opportunity to visit the construction site and we are excited by the progress and about all that Wayfair will offer our community. Wayfair is poised to become an important economic engine for the Village, providing new sales tax revenue to support critical infrastructure needs, bringing visitors to Wilmette to support our local businesses, adding over 200 new jobs to the local economy, and creating an exciting retail experience for all. 

Edens Plaza

With the opening of Wayfair fast approaching, WS Development, owner of Edens Plaza, has been working on a number of enhancements to the property. Most recently, the paint and staining program at Edens Plaza was completed in December 2023, updating the building color to shades of gray to elevate and modernize the appearance. Upcoming improvements include repaving the entire parking lot and landscape beautification. New traffic islands paired with improved pedestrian walkways are planned at the south end of the plaza for better safety and traffic flow in front of Walgreens. WS Development indicated there is a lot of interest from potential tenants, both local and national, to backfill existing vacancies and they are refining their long-term vision for Edens Plaza, which will include new retail and restaurant options.

Plaza del Lago

A Message from WS Development

Plaza del Lago is on the cusp of a renovation that will honor and preserve the property’s iconic history and architecture while updating it to meet the demands of modern retail and dining and setting it up to prosper for the next 100 years just as it was designed to do for the last 100. The site will undergo a complete overhaul including the restoration of building facades including masonry, storefronts, and windows; upgrades to building systems and structures including roofs, elevators, flooring, and basements; reimagining the arcade to make it a beloved destination, and the execution of new parking lots, sidewalks, outdoor dining areas, and landscaping meticulously designed to complement the architecture with robust greenery and unique plantings.

All of this work is being done in anticipation of opening best-in-class local and national businesses - in addition to keeping already existing businesses such as the drug store and grocery store among others - to serve the community. Just as all of Wilmette and much of the North Shore loves Plaza del Lago, we too fell in love with the property, the bones of what’s there today and the history of what once was. 

We’re excited to share that after over a year of design and planning, construction will start to mobilize this winter and work will continue for the next year and a half with a “grand reopening” scheduled for early summer 2025. 

When we think of Plaza del Lago, one of the first words that comes to mind is “charm” and we are working tirelessly to restore the property to a charming place that people can enjoy for generations to come. We want to acknowledge that the execution of this level of work to bring the center up to the standards that this community deserves and it is not going to be the most fun or beautiful eighteen months for Plaza del Lago. We appreciate your patience while we deliver on our promises and believe it will be worth the wait.

Optima Development Proposal

Optima has submitted plans for ‘Optima Verdana II’ at the former Imperial Motors (Jaguar) site at 721 - 739 Green Bay Road. The project will require zoning approval from the Village Board of Trustees. To inform the Village Board’s decision-making, there will be an extensive public review process of the proposed development including public meetings with the Village’s Appearance Review Commission, Housing Commission, and Plan Commission. After these reviews, the application will be considered for a final vote by the Village Board, no earlier than April 2024. 

The Village’s website will be updated as meeting dates are determined, and information will be shared via E-News and social media. Learn more about the proposed development and check for meeting updates.