Discover A trio of woman-owned food businesses in Berwyn

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By Melissa Elsmo

Food Writer

Feel the good vibes at Juice Vibe Bar

After putting out feelers for a commercial space in several suburbs, Annabelle Martinez found her way to an office space in Berwyn and fearlessly opened Juice Vibe Bar, at 2137 Oak Park Ave., just two months later.

Martinez, who grew up in the Berwyn-Cicero area, transformed the former medical office into an inviting space and introduced her arsenal of dairy-free, vegan, and gluten-free juices and smoothie bowls to health-conscious customers.

"I was inspired by the juices found at mercados públicos [public markets]in Mexico." said Martinez. "I wanted the atmosphere here to feel like Panama City, Miami or Mexico City."

Juices like the Glow Up -- featuring carrot, orange, apple, celery and lemon -- are all made on the spot in an open kitchen at Juice Vibe Bar. All-natural ingredients and super foods like turmeric, dragon fruit powder, spirulina and matcha bring anti-inflammatory properties and beauty benefits to the menu and all juices can be enhanced with chia, collagen, or CBD for an additional charge.

The smoothie bowls served at Juice Vibe Bar are all named after famous Latina artists like Selena and Frida Kahlo. The Jenni bowl, named after musician Jenni Rivera, features a robust combination of almond milk, spirulina, blueberries, banana, coconut, granola, oats, chia seeds and Amaranthus.

"As a woman I think I am a natural multitasker," said Martinez who employs a team of five women. "I also enjoy being a resource to others and hope to grow my business from within by training my managers to open their own stores down the road."

 

A mother's touch at Café Media Noche

Nestled in the heart of Berwyn's up and coming Depot District a small (yet mighty) restaurant is bringing a taste of Cuba to the western suburbs. A three-woman operation, Café Media Noche, located at 6836 Windsor Ave., focuses on Cuban fare in three forms: catering, food truck and pop-up restaurant.

"We're serving tradition from the heart of our kitchen" says co-owner Chasity Noa of Café Media Noche's approach to Cuban fare. "There is a lot of impostor Cuban food out there, but we don't cut corners here. Vivi cooks with integrity."

Vivi Noa, started cooking in Havana when she was just eight years old. She perfected cooking steak and rice under her own mother's watchful eye before emigrating to the United States in the 1980s. Today Vivi is the mother of eight grown children, four boys and four girls, with more than a dozen grandchildren.

Vivi, who says her favorite ingredients are "onions, garlic and love," finds inspiration in the array of ingredients available at American markets, but her commitment to using natural ingredients and authentic preparation techniques remains intact.

Expect crisp empanadas, pillowy papa rellenas and cheesy Cubano sandwiches to complement an array of bowls on Café Media Noche's menu. Round out a meal with a Cuban cortadito — an espresso shot made from Café Bustelo and tempered with steamed milk and sugar.

Follow Café Media Noche on Facebook and Instagram to keep track of their hours of operation -- they shift from week to week based on catering gigs.

 

Live life 100% Naturalisimo

Eating healthy does not mean you have to hold yourself back or deny the satisfaction of a good meal according to plant-based chef, Rossy Salto Ayala, owner of Cien 100% Naturalisimo, at 2709 Ridgeland Ave. in Berwyn.

"Food is medicine," said Ayala. "I use this restaurant to bring attention to the lifestyle I live and want to encourage other people to live."

Unbalanced health triggered Ayala's desire to start a health journey of her own. During the process, she fell in love with the plant-based food movement and began developing the recipes that appear on her restaurant menu. Cien 100% Naturalisimo has vegan versions of popular Latin dishes and other global fare.

To honor Mexican Independence Day, Chile en Nogada — a pomegranate topped poblano pepper filled with quinoa, faro, raisins, and almonds -- made an appearance as a daily special. Regular menu items include a flavorful mushroom panini, robust quinoa salad and decadent cheesecake for dessert.

Today, the restaurant is just over a year-old and Ayala is more than just the owner of the vegan centric eatery, she also is a dedicated holistic health coach. A Berwyn resident herself, she knew her restaurant was necessary and takes pride in the work she does.

"Before 100% Naturalisimo, there was no restaurant like this. There was no plant-based food readily available in Berwyn," said Ayala. "I want to show people you can change your life by being healthy. As a woman, my empathy for my clients is special and I believe it's important to give what you want to receive in life."

Contact:
Email: melissa@oakparkeats.com

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