Friends of Oak-Leyden dining Lake Street Kitchen in 2017.

 Oak-Leyden’s Director of Fund Development, Lori Malinski, created the March Gladness campaign to coincide with NCAA March Madness in hopes of bringing community awareness to National Developmental Disabilities Month. During this second annual campaign, hungry restaurant-goers can choose to eat for a great cause.

Six local restaurants have committed to give a percentage of their daily profits back to Oak- Leydon on Thursdays throughout March because they believe in helping people with developmental disabilities meet life’s challenges and reach their highest potential.

Malinski hatched the plan based on her past work experiences and embraces the power of  mutually beneficial relationships.

“We are driving people into restaurant seats every Thursday in March,” says Malinski, “and we appreciate and respect these restaurants’ commitment to our mission.”

In 2017, the March Gladness campaign raised $3, 000 in a single evening for Oak-Leyden’s programs. This year, the organization intends to build on the success of last year by expanding the scope of the event to include multiple dining nights. Event supporters will appreciate the 2018 experince has been designed with variety in mind and offers diners maximum flexibility; the six participating restaurants offer varied cuisine styles and a few are offering lunch hours in their give-back windows.

2018 participating restaurants include: Cucina Paradiso, Maya del Sol, Lake Street Kitchen and Bar, Fat Duck Tavern and Grill, Big Guys Charbroiled Sausages, and Oak Park Brewing Company.

“This dining event creates a buzz and fosters an opportunity for community engagement,” says Bertha Magana, Oak-Leyden’s Executive Director, “and no-one has been a bigger champion for March Gladness than the Gambino brothers at Cucina Paradiso.”

Anthony Gambino, co-owner of Cucina Paradiso, is looking forward to welcoming March Gladness diners at his Italian eatery on Thursday, March 1st from 5:00-9:30pm. He and his staff relish in providing great food and service with the added bonus of benefiting Oak-Leyden.

“Cucina Paradiso has been in Oak Park for 23 years and we are part of this small community,” says Gambino, “and when you are part of a community you should give back whenever you can.”


All March Gladness attendees are encouraged to show their support for this delicious dining event on social media by snapping a picture during a meal and tagging the partcipating restaurant and Oak-Leyden in a post.

Cucina Paradiso
814 North Blvd, Oak Park, IL 60301
Thursday, March 1
Dine-In Only

Maya Del Sol
144 S. Oak Park Ave, Oak Park, IL 60302
Thursday, March 8

Lake Street Kitchen + Bar
1101 Lake St, Oak Park, IL 60301
Thursday March 15

Fatduck Tavern & Grill
7218 Madison St, Forest Park, IL 60130
(708) 488-1483
Thursday, March 22
Available For Lunch & Dinner

Big Guys Charbroiled Sausages
7021 W. Roosevelt Rd, Berwyn, IL 60402
(708) 317-5213
Thursday, March 29
Available For Lunch & Early Dinner

Oak Park Brewing Company
155 S. Oak Park Ave, Oak Park, IL 60302
Thursday, March 29
Dine-In Only

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