FOR OVER 43 years, the late Fred Majewski presided over his service station on the corner of Green Bay Road and Spruce Street in Winnetka. Majewski and his old Mobil station may be gone, but they won’t soon be forgotten, as Fred’s Garage—a restaurant with a decidedly car-friendly vibe—opened on the same spot in late September.
Robert LaPata, Joe Krouse and Fred Gale, who also own the much-loved Ten Mile House and DB3 Donuts in Evanston, couldn’t turn down the prime North Shore location, but they wanted to honor the history of the spot. “Our partner Fred Gale said, ‘No way!’ but he got overruled,” LaPata says with a laugh. “We loved the name because it tells our new neighbors exactly where we are. It just works.”
Designed by Chicago’s OKW Architects, the space pays homage to the classic American service station. There’s an industrial feel to it, with plenty of metal elements and antique gas station memorabilia. They’ve kept part of the original Fred’s, now the kitchen and bar, and added a dining room complete with two rolling bay doors that will open in good weather. In place of the pumps is a spacious, covered front patio, while indoor seating is a riff on vintage ’70s sedan bucket seats, and the host stand is made of old toolboxes.
Executive chef Michael Luth (of Dusek’s, and Garage Bar in Louisville, Ky.) not only created a menu from the ground up; he also finds time to make all the pickles, kimchi, pasta and sausage in-house (especially impressive since he has an infant at home).