4 Unique To-Go Options That Show Off Berwyn Restaurateurs’ Creative Side

In the face of adversity, these restaurants said: “Challenge accepted” — and won.

When pandemic restrictions took effect in March, business was anything but usual for the restaurant industry. With indoor dining put on hold, Berwyn restaurateurs quickly realized they’d need to adapt in order to survive. For many, that meant finding creative ways to offer old favorites — as well as inventing new, unique options for take-out and delivery. From cocktail kits, to popsicles in the park, to breakfast (almost) in bed and more, some of those creations are now among Berwyn’s best-selling to-go options, giving local restaurants a much-needed boost in revenue — and confidence — amid uncertain times.

“We’ve been lucky,” said Daniel Castañeda, manager at Lalo’s Mexican Restaurant. “We have a wide customer base, and we’re very grateful for the support our clientele is showing us. Companies that adapt to changes quickest will fare better.”

Hungry yet? Check out four of the most creative and innovative take-out and delivery options in Berwyn below.

Lalo’s: Famous Margaritas, Sangria and Micheladas To-Go
Lalo’s: Famous Margaritas, Sangria and Micheladas To-Go

Instagram: @lalos_restaurant

On a typical pre-pandemic night, Lalo’s Mexican restaurant, 3011 S. Harlem Ave., was known for slinging its famous margaritas and other ice-cold drinks to a packed house alongside a backdrop of vibrant Mariachi music. While delivery and take-out were available, it only accounted for about 7-10 percent of a Friday or Saturday night’s revenue. Today, that number has skyrocketed to 30 percent. Lalo’s staff and owners knew they had to lean into the ways customer behaviors were changing, such as ordering in large quantities for longer stays at home. Their unique solution: help re-create the Lalo’s experience at home with packaged margaritas, sangria and the all-new Michelada kits — made in fresh batches and complete with tamper-proof sealing.

“Everything helps,” Danny, General Manager said. “If we can recreate the Lalo’s experience at home, that’s something we really want to do for our customers. We’d love to make Lalo’s at home part of their new traditions.”

Here’s what you can get:

     Margaritas in original, mango and strawberry

     16 oz  — $9.95 (makes approximately two drinks)

     32 oz — $19.95

     1.75 L — $39.95

     Sangria in red or white

     16 oz  — $6.95

     32 oz — $16.95

     1.75 L — $29.95

     NEW Mich Kit, which includes a choice of three beers, one bottle of Lalo’s Mich Mix, one whole lime, and a salt and Tajin mix.

     $16.95 for the kit, or $7.95 for a 16 oz bottle of Lalo’s Mich Mix alone

How to get it:

Order online at www.lalos.com, or call 708-484-9311.

Lunges ‘N Lattes: Breakfast At Your Doorstep
Lunges ‘N Lattes: Breakfast At Your Doorstep

Instagram: @lungesnlattesberwyn

While the pandemic temporarily brought a halt to the normally bustling cafe and fitness studio Lunges ‘N Lattes, 6805 Stanley Ave., owner Angela Tomassetti said the situation has given the restaurant time to flex its creative muscles — particularly when it comes to delivery. With a laser-focus on the safety of employees and customers, the cafe’s latest creative venture is a contact-free delivery of bulk coffees, beans, flavored syrups and pastries straight to Berwynners’ front steps.

Here’s what you can get:

From 7-9 a.m., customers can choose from boxed hot coffee or growlers of cold brew, batched iced lattes in a variety of flavors, 5 oz bottles of their favorite Jo Snow syrup, and a wide selection of muffins, bars, scones, and cakes (naturally gluten-free and vegan-friendly!). Soon, Lunges ‘N Lattes will also offer monthly care packages of whole or ground coffee, chai tea mixes, syrups, and non-dairy milks that allow you to treat a friend or family member to a true coffee shop experience without having to leave the house.

Pro tip: Be sure to leave your empty growlers at your next drop off — they’re collected, sanitized, and put back into rotation to eliminate waste. You even get a $5 in-store credit when you bring them in on your next visit!

How to get it:

Delivery is free, and orders must be within five miles of the cafe. Call 708-317-5108, or order online at www.lungesnlattes.shopsettings.com.

Crepas Culichi: Fantasy Birthday Lunch Boxes To-Go
Crepas Culichi: Fantasy Birthday Lunch Boxes To-Go

Instagram: @crepasculichi

Although COVID-19 has put a pause on the traditional birthday party, a new invention from Crepas Culichi, 2713 S. Ridgeland Ave., still promises to make the day sparkle. The Fantasy Birthday Box offers a luxurious lunchtime experience complete with house-made drinks and food, a bow-tied decorative box, artificial flower and birthday balloon. The to-go boxes were a concept borne out of adjusting to the pandemic, manager Alex Herrera said — and have since become a huge hit.

“We had to do something new to adapt,” Herrera said. On Mother’s Day alone, the shop sold over 100 boxes, he said.

Here’s what you can get:

For $49.99, the standard kit includes a Mexican coffee with cinnamon and special sugar, pink lemonade in a glass bottle, chicken sandwich, pasta salad, dessert with chocolate, granola and fresh fruit, and two macrons. Customers can also customize boxes with crepes, bagels and other items to make the birthday fantasy complete. Topped off with a birthday balloon and timeless flower, the meal is placed inside a decorative box — making it a gift as much as a meal.

How to get it:

To order, call 708-637-4998, or visit them online at https://www.facebook.com/crepasculichi/.

Juice Vibe Bar: Pop-Up Cart At Proksa Park
Juice Vibe Bar: Pop-Up Cart At Proksa Park

Instagram: @juicevibebar

When the pandemic hit Juice Vibe Bar, 2137 Oak Park Ave., co-owners and mother-daughter duo Anabelle and Diana Martinez understood they would need to find new ways to service their current customers, as well as gain new followers. The family-owned business had already earned customer loyalty from folks as far away as Joliet, who couldn’t find a healthy, vegan-friendly and all-natural juice bar anywhere else.

With health at the front of her mind, Anabelle Martinez said creating a pop-up shop with a refrigerated cart at Proksa Park, 3001 Wisconsin Ave., was the perfect way to promote being outdoors while connecting with the community and enjoying a delicious, cold treat. So far, the cart business has been booming, with its first appearance selling-out.

By using healthy substitutions like agave and almond milk, “it’s really people’s old-fashioned favorites, but with a new twist,” her mother Diana said.

Here’s what you can get:

     For $7, house-made juices are available in either Jungle Splash (kale, spinach, apple, celery and lemon) or Beet It (beets, carrots, apple, ginger and lemon) flavors

      $2.50 ice pops in horchata and hibiscus flavors

     $3 ginger shot with ginger, lemon and water

     $5 Alani Nu energy drink

     $3 power bites made from fruits, grains, nuts and seeds

How to get it:

Expect to see the Juice Vibe Bar cart in the park on weekend afternoons. Be sure to check out their Instagram page to see when they’ll be in Proksa Park!