The Day Nursery children eating meals and snacks pre-COVID. Though they look forward to returning to family-style meals, the organization still provides two house-made meals and two snacks to each child daily. Funds raised through Taste the Town will support food programming at The Day Nursery.

After the resounding success of the first Taste the Town event and requests from community members to get their hands on another “ultimate takeout bag,” Take Out 25 organizers are excited to announce they have partnered with The Collaboration for Early Childhood, The Day Nursery, the Department of Public Health and eight local eateries to present “Taste the Town 2” on Thursday, April 22.

“The last year of my life would have been much less meaningful without Take Out 25,” said Ravi Parakkat, Take Out 25 founder and recently elected village trustee in this week’s election. “It has been gratifying to be part of this journey and see the community come together in the midst of the pandemic.”

The second Taste the Town event will feature a preset entrée menu made up of a collection of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes from Amerikas, Carnivore, Khyber Pass, Trattoria 225 and Surf’s Up. A dessert bag will feature a trio of sweets from One Lake Brewing, Rare Bird Preserves and Wells Street Popcorn. Each takeout bag, $100 for entrees and $35 for desserts, will feed a family of four. Take out bag quantities are limited and will be offered on a first come first serve basis. 

“There are so many things I am excited about,” said Allison Cummins, Taste the Town organizer and Oak Park resident. “I hope we are able to create the same magical feel we had last time while highlighting a whole new set of restaurants.”

The week of the young child is celebrated in April and it is only fitting that the theme for Taste the Town 2 is early childhood. Carollina Song, Oak Park resident, brokered the connection between Take Out 25 and the Collaboration for Early Childhood — the organization agreed to assist in promoting the event. Additionally, Song donated funds to cover upfront costs of the event and Michelle Vanderlaan, owner of Sugarcup Trading, 110 N. Marion St, is sponsoring the event.

“Having the endorsement of the Collaboration for Early Childhood Education really validates the focus of the second Taste the Town event,” said Parakkat.

“Sugarcup Trading is proud to sponsor Taste the Town,” said Vanderlaan. “We simply love the creativity and innovation behind this event. It not only gives consumers the opportunity to taste the best that Oak Park has to offer but it also paves a way to give back to our local agencies and non-profits.” 

Taste the Town 2 is a ticketed event with the funds raised going directly to The Day Nursery, 1139 Randolph St., Oak Park. The nonprofit will then share proceeds with participating restaurants following a predetermined formula. All add-on donations above the cost of the bags will go directly to support The Day Nursery’s on-site food program. The organization is committed to spending its portion of the funds to buy food from local restaurants and grocery stores to feed children enrolled in the program.

“Our cook is already thinking of creative ways to support local grocers and restaurants with the funds raised through Taste the Town,” said Cari Christoff, executive director of The Day Nursery. “We are especially interested in working with Sugar Beet, The Daly Bagel, Carnivore and Carnival.”

The Day Nursery is dedicated to exposing students to healthy foods and provides two-thirds of each child’s daily nutritional requirements through two house-made meals and two wholesome snacks daily. The USDA covers half of the costs of implementing The Day Nursery’s food service program. The other half, approximately $60,000, comes out of the organization’s annual operating budget and is supported by fundraising efforts.

“These types of events help sustain community and there is no better way to give back than supporting each other,” said Christoff. “Taste the Town recognizes the interconnectivity within our community and provides an opportunity to be supportive of people living and working within Oak Park. We are grateful to Ravi, Take Out 25, and the community for investing in us.” 

Get your tickets HERE.

What is on the menu?

Entrée bag includes:

Amerikas: Chicken tamal, Jalapeño & cheese tamal (VEG), Vegan tamal (V) 

Surf’s Up: Fried catfish with dirty rice and grilled shrimp

Trattoria 225: Linguini Aglio olio  with asparagus, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, and olive oil (VEG)

Khyber Pass: Chicken tikka masala with saag (spinach and ginger) served with basmati rice

Carnivore: Lamb and lentil soup (GF)

Dessert Bag includes:

Rare Bird Preserves: Assorted cookies

One Lake Brewing: Dark chocolate brownies with a beer caramel swirl

Wells Street Popcorn: 2/3-gallon Wells Street Mix

Taste the Town tickets are on sale now and will close on Apr. 18 at noon. Meals will be picked up at the Nineteenth Century Club, 178 N. Forest Ave., between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Apr. 22, in six pre-selected pick-up windows. The event is designed to sell out with 300 savory slots and 200 dessert slots available. Organizers have set a goal of raising an additional $5,000 for The Day Nursery through donations.

*This story has been updated to reflect Ravi Parakkat’s victory in the Apr. 7 Village Trustee elections.

Join the discussion on social media!