Business Spotlight: Evoke

Corey Black, left and brother, Ty, plan for the Evoke, the new Richard Street restaurant. They will be serving a French-American menu for breakfast and lunch.

Editor’s Note: Business Spotlight is an ongoing series that will feature area businesses.

Ty and Corey Black are brothers from Bedford who have created “Evoke,” a Richard Street, Bedford, restaurant that will seat its first public guests at a soft opening on Saturday, Nov. 16.

Evoke will feature “something for everyone” on its French and American bistro breakfast and lunch menu. “Bistro” lends itself towards “lighter fare, and to more casual service, food, and flavors,” Corey said, adding that, in the beginning stages, there will not be a dinner menu. The brothers intend to add dinner in the spring to the Evoke lineup.

Ty also has plans to double the restaurant seating capacity by creating a 55-person outdoor patio in the near future. He said he envisions an “open-concept space with a French feel—a pergola with lantern lighting.”

The current menu will feature “ingredient-driven, sustainable, approachable, affordable products,” Corey said. “Everything made in-house, nothing from a can.”

These terms mean the Evoke team will “know where things come from—the origins—the farms, and food with the root still on it...two days from being picked. Seafood will be from one or two days away. It’s about the way we cure our meats, and season our sauces.”

Corey said what sets Evoke apart is the local sourcing of the produce and the proteins, and their seasonal menus—four menus a year are planned along with a farm-to-table menu once a month. Nov. 25 is the first farm-to-table menu scheduled in partnership with Black Valley farm in Everett.

“We also are placing an emphasis on recycling, eliminating waste, and being eco-friendly,” Corey said.

Menu examples include a duck breast entree with butternut squash, Italian risotto, and spicy pumpkin seeds; or a French dip sandwich on bread baked in-house with caramelized onions, Hidden Hills cheese, and au jus, also made in-house, Corey said. A trio of crepes such as creme brûlée and espresso chocolate, or apple crisp, all served with Dark Side roasted coffee from Ligonier are dessert options, according to Corey.

Evoke is located in the building now owned by Brian Clites, a longtime Black family friend, Corey said, in the space where the previous Bird’s Nest restaurant operated for many years. Clites and his wife, Hannah, told the brothers about the vacancy, and how they thought the new restaurant would be a perfect opportunity.

“We saw Evoke as a concept that was missing in Bedford—a piece of luxury,” according to Corey, “to serve Bedford Springs’ guests as well as the community.”

The Black brothers have been away from Bedford for several years after growing up here. According to Corey, they are part of a wave of young people known returning to Bedford known as “homecomers.”

Ty, age 25, attended the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown for four years, played baseball for the Butler Blue Sox for a year in Pittsburgh, and then moved home in 2018. He now owns Black’s Contracting and Landscaping.

Corey, 22, said, “I’ve been in the restaurant business since I was 14.” His time was spent between Washington, D.C. and State College over the years in various capacities from Michelin-star restaurants, to positions as a server, bartender, dishwasher, food service consultant, and opening $25 million projects.

“I never thought in a million years I’d be back in Bedford or that I’d want to—I loved D.C.—but I’m back and I’m giving Bedford a second chance. It’s nice. It’s cool, and all my friends are loving it,” Corey said.

Stephanie Clark, the Evoke concept chef, and Rosalind Clark, (no relation) the restaurant’s general manager, are also “homecomers,” according to Corey. Stephanie returned from Ohio, and Rosalind, from State College.

The brothers began this overhaul and new design for the Evoke space on Oct. 1. “We like challenge,” Ty said, and for the most part, other than some unforeseen utility delays, for example, the team has stayed on schedule due to the hundreds of hours that have gone into this project so far.

They have hired a 15-member staff to manage the restaurant’s 58-seat capacity, and Ty expects there “to be standing room only” at their opening.

“They’re gonna be here,” he said. “We’ve had tremendous support from other restaurants in Bedford, other merchants and organizations.”

The brothers said there have been no naysayers on their project and that many people and groups have encouraged them.

When asked how the name was chosen for the new restaurant, Corey said, “‘Evoke’ means to excite, to awaken, to bring back to conscious mind. The name just hit us and we’ve loved it ever since!”

Ty said he what he is looking forward to the most this weekend is “finally getting to benefit everybody in this town and providing people with this experience.”

Evoke will be open Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hours are 7 to 11 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 7 am to 4 p.m.; Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, contact Tyna Walker-Lay at tynawalkerlay@gmail.com. For more information on Evoke, contact evokebedford.com or visit their Facebook or Instagram pages.

Contact Elizabeth Coyle at ecoyle@bedfordgazette.com; 623-1151, ext. 105.

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