Author Archives: pinklaur

Berwyn Park Districts Loose $800,000 after Gov. Rauner Makes Grant Suspensions

By Lauren Pinkston

Berwyn parks are losing close to $800,000 in grants due to budget cuts made by Gov. Bruce Rauner. Park districts across the state are affected by grant suspensions, including the Berwyn Park District and North Berwyn Park District.

Jeffrey Janda, executive director of the Berwyn Park District, explained the Berwyn Park District is loosing two grants. One for $87,500 that was intended to be used for land acquisition for a new park. The second was for $306,600 to renovate and redevelopment existing parks, especially their water drainage systems

The North Berwyn Park District is also reported to be losing about $400,000 in grants. Joseph Vallez, executive director of North Berwyn Park District, was unavailable for comment.

Janda explained the suspension could not only make these projects unattainable, they will affect potential job opportunities, storm water management, and currently existing programs. Continue reading

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Supreme Pizza from Paisan’s Pizzeria Voted Berwyn’s Best


Photo courtesy of BDC

By Lauren Pinkston

Paisan’s Pizzeria and Bar, 6226 W. Ogden Ave, won the Berwyn Development Corporation’s promotional “Berwyn’s Best Pizza” competition last month. Paisan’s Supreme Pizza, topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions, came up the winner..

Waldo Cooney’s Pizza, Bubba’s Place, Benny’s Pizza and Nonno’s Pizza also competed for the award, determined by a public poll and blind taste test by local foodies and public figures, including Brendan O’Connor of Big Guys Sausage Stand, Brian Pabst of the City of Berwyn, Alma Ortiz of BMO Harris Bank, Jamie Kucera of Pav YMCA, John Aranza of Autre Monde Café & Spirits, and Nancy Vesecky of Vesecky’s Bakery.

According to Stacy Stott, General Manager, Paisan’s Pizzeria set itself apart from the competition.

“We use super premium ingredients and everything is made from scratch daily,” said Stott, “It’s a very cool place with excellent service.”

Paisan’s Pizzeria also offers new specialty pizzas every Friday and is planning to open a new location in Lisle.

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The Friendly Tap Opens Internet Café in Response to Local Demand

By Lauren Pinkston

Friendly Tap patrons now have a place for coffee and conversation in the morning, as well as stronger beverages at night, with the Roosevelt Road bar adding an Internet lounge.

Customers had been asking for , “a place in Berwyn to hang out and have coffee in a social environment,” said owner Rob Pierce. So he opened the lounge last May

Pierce made some renovations to create a warm, lounge vibe, inspired by artistic coffee houses found in New York City’s Greenwich Village in the 1960s. In addition to coffee, the lounge serves flavored sodas, mimosas, bloody marys, muffins, bagels, and other simple breakfast foods.

“People really enjoy it,” Pierce said. “It’s a really easy place to hang out and it’s one of the more social coffee house environments I’ve ever experienced.”

The Friendly Lounge is at 6733 W. Roosevelt Rd. and is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m..

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Berwyn Development Corporation Gears Up for 2nd Annual Green Mile Pub Crawl

by Lauren Pinkston

The Green Mile Pub Crawl gives revelers a chance to get a jump on St. Patrick’s Day with a March 13 party along Berwyn’s Roosevelt Road.

Don’t expect too many marching bands, however.

Organizer John Aranza said it will highlight Roosevelt Road as a “destination point”.

“It’s not a typical St. Patrick’s day parade,” Aranza said, “It’s more to showcase the quality of businesses we have.”

Local businesses, such as Fitzgerald’s, Big Guys Sausage, Autre Monde, and others will host special music performances and food and drink specials for the evening.

And this year the organizers are going to showcase more musical acts, including the Band of Brothers Pipes and Drums.

“Band of Brothers is a group of retired firefighters from the Illinois area who play traditional music,” Aranza said. “They’ll be moving to different locations on Roosevelt to play bagpipes throughout the night.”

The Pub Crawl is set to kick off on Friday, March 13 at 5 p.m. and going to  11 p.m. Wristbands for the event costs $10 and include a shuttle service down Roosevelt Road as well as drink specials at participating venues.

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Berwyn Public Library Hosts Anime Monday for Teens

Berwyn teen anime fans come together to enjoy the Japanese-style animated movies and television shows at the Berwyn Public Library with like-minded fans individuals each week.

Marion Olea, invites anime fans to come together every Monday.

“I think it’s just a unique event to expose themselves to this big culture of anime,” said Marion Olea, the library’s teen services assistant. “It’s a nice way for them to unwind and experience anime for themselves.”

Currently attendance at Anime Monday maxes out at about eight young adults, but Olea hopes to encourage more attendees by including snacks and alternative activities in the future.

The Berwyn Public Library, located at 2701 Harlem Ave., has been hosting Anime Mondays for about one and a half years. Anime Monday takes place every Monday from 4 – 5 p.m.


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Mission House Café Serves Coffee and Compassion

by Lauren Pinkston



Mission House Café, tucked away in a renovated Victorian home in South Berwyn, brings customer service and community outreach together by using profits from serving food and beverages to benefit local and global charities.

The café’s handcrafted refreshments and rustic atmosphere makes it stand out from the average coffee shop.

Berwyn’s Assemblies of God Pentecostal Church runs the café; its children’s pastor, Joshua Brniak, manages it on a day-to-day basis.

“My goal as the manager is to provide a warm and inviting environment while serving the highest quality coffee and food around, meet and build connections within our community, and provide a meeting place for people from all walks of life,” Brniak said. Continue reading

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Pav YMCA Hosts Snow Days for South Berwyn Students

by Lauren Pinkston

Berwyn working parents now have a safe and supervised place to take their students during district emergency closings. Stephanie Robinson, School Age Childcare and Family Director at Pav YMCA, collaborates with South Berwyn district 100 to host a “fun-filled,” emergency closing day when the district cancels school.

“This is a great way for parents to know their child is safe, while they’re at work,” Robinson said, “It is convenient and we allow drop ins, so those parents who cannot take the day off when their children are out of school have a place where their child can go.”

During inclement weather closings, school-aged children are invited to engage in a variety of entertaining activities while their parents are away at work.

“Our program starts at 6:30 a.m. and goes until 6:00 p.m. From 6:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. our staff takes registration and plays board games, cards, or other quiet activities,” Robinson said, “9 a.m. – 4 p.m. is our program time where we swim, play in our gym, do art projects, and engage all of the children in a large group activity.”

The event hosts about 10-20 children on average and costs $20 or $25 for members and nonmembers respectively. The YMCA has hosted emergency closing days on Jan. 7, Jan. 5, Feb. 2, and Feb. 19 this school year.

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