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Meet Joe Krouse of DB3 Donuts in Evanston

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joe Krouse.

Joe, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago (Northbrook and Lake Forest) and graduated from the University of Michigan in 1993. I spent about 5 years in the traditional workforce, focusing on marketing and business development at companies in Boston, Denver and Chicago.

Soon after, I began my entrepreneurial career, creating a custom audio/video company. We designed, sold and installed smart home systems across the Chicagoland area. I sold that business in 2011. In 2012, my wife Megan and I entered the restaurant business. We opened Unite Urban Grill in Chicago’s West Town; a neighborhood steakhouse with seasonally-inspired modern comfort food.

Although Unite closed in 2016, I was well on my way in the industry with another venture. In the fall of 2014, with partners Robert LaPata and Fred Gale, we opened Ten Mile House in Evanston. About a year or so later, we added DB3 Donuts right next door. And just this last fall, we opened our newest full-service restaurant, Fred’s Garage, in Winnetka.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
By far the biggest struggle was learning about “location, location, location” the hard way. You can have a great concept. And you can have a great location.

BUT Fit the concept to the space/neighborhood, not the other way around! I tried to force the Unite concept in the wrong location. I should have done a better job of evaluating the neighborhood – I should have either passed on that location or adjusted my concept and menu.

Please tell us about DB3 Donuts.
We focus on the following principals for all of our establishments:
-Neighborhood and Family Oriented Locations
-Quality Ingredients and Products
-Approachable, yet Inspiring Cuisine
-Value Oriented and Fiscally Responsible Practices
-Independently owned with Corporate Sensibilities
-Involvement and Philanthropy with the Community
-Respect and Dignity for Employees and Guests
-Embracing the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Standing outside with my Dad next to the grill, learning some of the techniques that would go on to serve me for years with family, friends, and now professionally!

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