Ravi Parakkat

Takeout 25, the online initiative dedicated to supporting restaurants through the pandemic, has teamed up with the South East Oak Park Community Organization (SEOPCO), Beyond Hunger and the Oak Park-River Forest chapter of Clean Up Give Back (CUGB) to launch Takeout 25 as a not-for-profit. The event is set to be part of Barriefest on Sept. 11 from 12-5pm.

“I am optimistic the event will go forward,” said Ravi Parakkat, Takeout 25 founder and now an Oak Park village trustee. “Barriefest organizers are interfacing with the village about the event overall. We are committed to following any and all protocols the village puts in place to keep the community safe.”

As it stands, Parakkat is looking forward to an afternoon filled with food, music and family fun to inform the community about the expanded mission of Takeout 25. The newly formed nonprofit aims to address food insecurity, food waste and the sustainability of local food systems while continuing to come up with innovative ways to strengthen the local economy.

“Takeout 25 started out as 100% reactive to the pandemic,” said Parakkat. “But now we are building on our successful support of local restaurants to become something broader that is designed to outlive the pandemic.”

To celebrate their new nonprofit status, Takeout 25 plans to bring an array of local food vendors to Barriefest. Participants include Amerikas, Khyber Pass, Kalamata Kitchen, Mora Asian Kitchen, Billy Bricks Woodfired Pizza, Carnivore Oak Park, Ben’s Bar-Be-Cue, Happy Apple Pie Shop and Cafe Cubano. 

Each vendor will price their menu offerings at $8 and ticket booklets are on sale now to give attendees access to vendors’ offerings. Each $25 booklet contains three eight-dollar coupons for use at Barriefest. The remaining dollar will be donated to Beyond Hunger in honor of Hunger Action Month.

“I could not be happier with the restaurants we have participating,” said Parakkat. “This is as great a representation of the diversity of tastes in our community as I could have hoped for and really shows off our local restaurants.”

Takeout 25 is also hoping to raise an additional $25,000 through T-shirt sales. To receive a branded Takeout 25 T-shirt interested parties are required to make donation of $25 or more by Sept. 2. Funds raised will be reserved to cover the startup costs for the young non-profit.

Representatives from Clean Up Give Back will be on site to educate the public about waste management and assist with recycling at Barriefest. Representatives from Beyond Hunger will be onsite to bring awareness to food insecurity. 

“All of these causes are integrated and interconnected,” said Parakkat. ”As we look to the future, Barrie Park, with its environmental reclamation efforts, is the perfect venue to represent the sustainability aspect of Takeout 25.”

The Takeout 25 launch event is being sponsored by Byline Bank, Carnival Grocery Oak Park, The Brown Cow, Scratch on Lake, Spilt Milk and Kettlestrings Tavern. Advanced purchasing is encouraged to help restaurants plan quantities accordingly. Ticket booklets and T-shirts are available for purchase at https://www.givesignup.org/TicketEvent/Takeout25Launch 

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