Meet Eric Young

Eric is a 20 year resident of the Third Ward who strives to build his community through action, volunteerism and dialogue.

Like so many other couples before them, Eric and his wife Shaina’s Evanston story began on Hinman Avenue, nearly 20 years ago. Their two daughters attend Lincoln Elementary, and their 8th grade son is at Nichols.

After a long career in healthcare technology, Eric decided to follow his lifelong passion of cooking. Never afraid to engage in a challenge, he left a comfortable decade-old job and returned to school full time. Upon graduating, Eric immediately went to work for Lettuce Entertain You where he began to hone his craft while dreaming of one day opening an Evanston restaurant. Fast forward a few decades, Eric ‘s dream has been realized and he is now the owner of La Principal restaurant.

In 2015, when the notion of The Main Dempster Mile SSA was beginning to surface, Eric was quick to join the discussion. Eric was elected to the first board of the Main Dempster Mile and he quickly climbed to the role of President. Working with the talented board members and the executive director, Eric was able to create a cohesive business district and revitalize the Main and Dempster corridors. The Main Dempster Mile is home to amazing restaurants, shops, and SPACE – the Midwest’s greatest “small stage”. The SSA features unique experiences such as the Wine Walk and Main Street Concert Series and it has been successful in engaging residents to shop, dine, and support “local” as well as bringing in residents (and dollars) from neighboring communities.

Even though the pandemic has taken a toll on his business, Eric has not lost sight of the community he holds dear. Eric has used every one of La Principal’s resources to maintain 13 full-time employees – eight of whom reside in Evanston – and continue to offer them health insurance. After a brief hiatus, Eric re-introduced La Principal’s “Taco Tuesday for a Cause” program, where a portion of sales are donated to a local benefactor. In 2021 alone, this initiative has successfully raised nearly $5,000 for Connections for the Homeless and the Jackson Family Fire Fund.


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