Flavorful food from family-owned eateries


Photo courtesy of Van Ceu

The Ceu family stands outside Van’s Sushi Cafe.

Are you tired of getting food from the same chain restaurants? During these uncertain times, it is super important to support our local businesses. Here are some local family-owned restaurants to try out.

Lolo’s Bowls

For a healthy and guilt-free option try out Lolo’s Bowls. Located on Milwaukee Avenue, Lolo’s is right over the border of Vernon Hills and Libertyville. They offer a variety of fresh acai bowls and smoothies. 

Lolo’s is owned by Lauren Schick and her family. On a trip to Hawaii, they fell in love with acai bowls. After returning to Illinois, the family was disappointed to not find any local places serving acai, so they decided to open up an acai bowl place of their own. 

They searched for the perfect acai recipe and they chose Berry Divine, a soft-serve acai. 

“We stumbled upon Berry Divine which is in Arizona,” Lauren Schick said. “We tried their soft serve acai, and we were like ‘this is it we need this,’ and then we brought it back to Libertyville.”

Berry Divine acai is made from acai berry, organic apple, beet, and lemon juice, and a little bit of cane sugar. The unique soft serve acai is topped with various fruits, nuts, seeds, and drizzles. 

Their most popular item, the Lolo’s Bowl, features the acai base topped with strawberries, banana, granola, and honey. 

Lolo’s features contactless ordering and pick-up. You can order through their online menu and pick-up your bowl in the freezer located outside the store. For a quick, healthy, and delicious snack make sure to check out Lolo’s Bowls. 

Van’s Sushi Cafe

Van’s Sushi Cafe is new to the Vernon Hills area. Since they opened in late July, this sushi cafe has drawn in customers from all the surrounding areas. They serve affordable, fresh and delicious sushi to-go. 

Van’s Sushi Cafe is owned by the Ceu Family and managed by Van Ceu, the oldest of the family. 

The Ceu’s came to America 15 years ago from Myanmar. 

Ceu’s mother, Ngun, has been making sushi at various grocery stores. She previously worked at the sushi counter in Fresh Market located on Milwaukee Avenue. After the Fresh Market closed down, Van encouraged his parents to open a sushi place of their own. 

So far Van’s Sushi Cafe has received continuous praise for their personable experience. Customers keep coming back because the Ceu’s make them feel like they are a part of the family. 

“It’s never really about making money, but sharing joy and love with our customers,” Van Ceu said. “Rather than running this business for money, I think we see it as a way to serve the community.”

They currently offer five-dollar specials on select rolls. One of their specials and most popular roll is the crunchy California roll. This classic California roll is topped with fried onion, spicy mayo, and eel sauce giving it a unique and savory taste. 

If you’re really hungry, you should try their sushi burrito. This burrito like roll consists of fresh salmon, crab salad, along with avocado, cucumber, and eel, 

Van hopes that his family’s venture of starting their own business will inspire and encourage the Burmese community. 

Lucky Burger and Grill

If you’re feeling fortunate, stop by Lucky Burger and Grill. This restaurant features specialty burgers with a Vegas themed twist. 

Lucky Burger and Grill is owned by the Marras family. Mike Marras has been in the restaurant business for quite some time. His wife, Vicky, came up with the idea to give the burgers Vegas-themed names. 

They feature unique burgers you can’t get at any regular chain. For example, the All in Burger is topped with a fried egg, bacon, Merkts cheddar and jalapeno peppers. Another popular item, The Lucky Attack Burger, is stuffed between two grilled cheese sandwiches. 

On the side of your burger make sure to try their fresh-cut fries. Lucky Burger’s fries was ranked number 11 out of 106 restaurants in the Chicagoland area. For something sweet, the Marras’s serve hand-dipped and specialty milkshakes bound to make your mouth water. 

The Marras’s are thankful for the increased support from the community. People have become more aware of the importance of shopping locally since the pandemic started. 

“I hear a lot of customers say, ‘We wanted to come support you guys, and make sure you know that when all this ends you know we’re still here for you’” Vicky Marras said.