DeColores Mexican Restaurant is the worst-kept culinary secret in Pilsen. Shortly after the eatery opened, reviewers began to shout the praises of its family-style Mexican dishes; Chicago magazine even placed DeColores on its 2010 list of the Best New Restaurants, lauding the guacamole as “reason enough for a trip to Pilsen.” The restaurant continued its meteoric rise by earning Bib Gourmand awards in the Michelin Guide Chicago in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
The Reyes family members behind DeColores Mexican Restaurant choose to keep the menu humble, basing many of the dishes on closely guarded family recipes that span generations. Made from a blend of 20 ingredients plied from Aunt Alicia, the menu’s rich, chocolate-based mole won the People’s Choice award at Pilsen’s 2012 Mole de Mayo festival and cook-off. The homestyle flavors of the tampiqueña—grilled skirt steak served with a queso chihuahua enchilada—managed to catch Chicago magazine’s attention yet again, earning a place on the publication’s 2010 list of its 30 Favorite Mexican Dishes in Chicago.
Not every dish comes from the Reyes recipe book, though. The restaurant regularly invites neighborhood residents to submit their own interpretations of traditional Mexican staples, honoring any standouts with spots on the menu. This vibrant community spirit radiates from DeColores’ very walls, which routinely change to accommodate new pieces of Mexican-themed works by area painters. Further supporting the artists of Pilsen, the sound system plays recordings of local musicians between dramatic readings of the restaurant’s reservation policy.
With more than 700 locations, Jamba Juice proves to the masses that nutrition can be speedy and delicious. Since the beginning, the company’s product philosophy has revolved around choosing whole fruits and other natural ingredients over artificial flavorings, sweeteners, and preservatives. The menu is completely free of high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats, and it offers additional accommodations for vegan and gluten-free diets.
This naturalistic approach is fully realized in Jamba Juice's selection of smoothies. Made with 100% fruit juice, sherbet, and frozen yogurt, the frosty delights range from all-fruit smoothies such as peach perfection and strawberry whirl to more indulgent creamy treats, including peanut butter moo'd, an enticing blend of peanut butter, bananas, nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt, and milk chocolate.
For those with heartier appetites, steel-cut oats steep in soymilk before being enhanced with toppings such as apples, cinnamon, and brown-sugar crumble. The lunch hour presents protein-packed mini wraps, toasted bistro sandwiches and artesian flatbreads that pack only about 320–420 calories each.
Flames up to 4 feet high rise from pans as cooks flamb? their signature lomo saltado al pisco, which features strip steak stir-fried with vinegar and soy sauce. This dish, like so many others at Rio's D'Sudamerica, stems from a recipe culled from owner Dino Perez's mother. As a young boy, Perez immersed himself in his family's restaurant, bussing and waiting tables throughout his teenage years. The experiences solidified his love for restaurant orchestration and helped him to open Rio's D'Sudamerica in 2006, just down the street from the family restaurant.
The kitchen's two-chef team, Rosendo Monteoca and Guillermo Munuz, began working in Perez's family's restaurant more than 20 years ago, which explains their intimate familiarity with the recipes. All dishes are prepared to order, and they highlight imported Peruvian products wherever possible. For the pollo a la brasa, a signature dish, the cooks marinate half chickens in a special blend of 20 ingredients before charring them in a wood-burning oven. The arroz con mariscos, a paella-style dish sans saffron, simmers rice, five kinds of seafood, and white wine in a pot, yielding a rich, cohesive flavor.
As patrons sip specialty pisco sours made from Peruvian brandy and fresh lime, they can gaze upon the restaurant's large murals of Peruvian landscapes, hand-painted by a local artist with an arm span twice as wide as a normal human's. The murals' cool ocean-side colors serve as harmonious complements to the rest of the eatery's palette, formed from long crimson drapery, cozy chairs the color of sand, and circular overhead lights whose golden hues mimic those of the sun.
Salud's extensive selection of 100% agave tequilas recast the cactusy libation as something to be sipped and savored, pairing its earthy flavors with a menu of fresh, upscale Mexican-American cuisine. While discussing flavor-notes from the more than 75 tequilas, nosh on savory antojitos such as a trio of original, pineapple, and chipotle pumpkin-flavored guacamoles ($12), or dip chorizo-stuffed cremini mushrooms into a chipotle ranch sauce ($8). Temper the urge to crunch on unyielding flatware with a plate of Salud nachos ($8), then move on to heartier fare including tacos topped with grilled skirt steak ($9), slow-roasted pork belly ($7.50), or sautéed shrimp ($9), each with their own flavor-specific suite of accompaniments. Those craving meatier mouthfuls can sink teeth into burger-like tortas layered with delectable accessories such as salsa and jalapeño bacon to outfit palates in savory style ($9–$11).
In addition to subtle, 2-ounce pours of blancos, oak-aged reposados, and sage-like anejos, Salud proffers selections of fine cervezas, non-tequila liquors such as rum and cachaca, and mixed beverages such as mojitos ($9–$9.50) or a suite of margaritas ($8–$10). Regular events provide chef Jose Gonzalez a chance to craft special-tasting menus highlighting the beverages' unique effects on taste buds, which range from making them tingle to inspiring exuberant recitations of Keats' Ode to a Nightingale. As the night moves on, ditch the smooth comfort of a booth for the free-flailing expressionism of light dancing within the chic, dimly lit space.
Working in collaboration with government organizations, TeaGschwendner helped build a factory that processes tea for 130 small farmers. That's just one of the ways TeaGschwendner ensures social and environmental responsibility. Read more here.
The Meatloaf Bakery's chief meatloaf maker, Cynthia, serves up an innovative take on a hearty comfort-food classic. Customers on the go have their pick of eight different kinds of meatloaf shaped like cupcakes, mini loaves, pies, and layer cakes. Cynthia's signature Mother Loaf, which has been featured on the Food Network's Sugar High, puts a new spin on the classic meatloaf. It seamlessly blends a meat trio of beef, pork, and veal with ketchup and herbs and comes with a mound of yukon mashed potatoes. Diners seeking the meatloaf experience sans meat can try her gluten-free, vegetarian Yentl Lentl Loaf, which uses only lentils and brown rice blended with bell peppers and cheese. Her six other loaves incorporate everything from Alaskan salmon to wing sauce with blue cheese or even a swirl of angel-hair pasta. She likes to reimagine meatloaf using the traditional meat of other countries' cuisines, creating hybrid comfort foods without reliving that French-Fry Onion-Soup Disaster.
In honor of Women?s History Month, Groupon is celebrating an inspiring group of women: business leaders whose companies and brands enrich their communities. Thanks to the dedication and ingenuity of these leaders, local communities across the country are stronger and more diverse.
Shop the Women in Business collection.