The Chicago Journal

Aguas Frescas: A Family’s Journey from Front Yard to Mainstream

Aguas Frescas
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The Rise of Aguas Frescas in Chicago

In the vibrant neighborhood of Chicago Lawn, a unique and refreshing beverage known as aguas frescas has been making waves. This traditional Mexican drink, crafted from freshly squeezed fruits, has gained popularity not only in Mexico and Latin American countries but also in the bustling streets of Chicago.

Aguas frescas, the traditional Mexican beverage with a refreshing twist, have found a new home in the heart of Chicago Lawn. These delightful drinks, crafted from the purest, freshest fruits, are now capturing the taste buds and hearts of locals.

A Family’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

At the core of this aguas frescas revolution is a family-run business that has been delighting locals since 2021. Gloria Diaz and her husband, Oscar Michelle, along with the invaluable support of Diaz’s sister, Martina Guerca, have turned their front yard into a hub of delicious, homemade aguas frescas and snacks. Even their youngest, Diaz and Michelle’s children, pitch in on weekends, making it a true family effort.

The Diaz-Michelle family embodies the entrepreneurial spirit, transforming their front yard into a culinary oasis. This is not just a business; it’s a family venture where everyone, from the parents to the youngest members, plays a vital role.

From Brighton Park to Chicago Lawn

The Diaz-Michelle family’s journey started in Brighton Park, where they made a name for themselves selling “bolis,” frozen flavored water in plastic bags, which became a hit among the local children. When they moved to Chicago Lawn in 2020, they realized that “bolis” weren’t as well-known in the area.

From the vibrant streets of Brighton Park to the welcoming avenues of Chicago Lawn, this family’s journey began with a simple idea: frozen flavored water. However, the new neighborhood brought new challenges.

The Transition to Aguas Frescas

Determined to continue their entrepreneurial journey, the family brainstormed ideas. After much discussion, they decided to switch to aguas frescas. These flavorful beverages, featuring classic Mexican flavors like horchata, hibiscus, and tamarind, have become a beloved staple in their front yard stand.

As the family contemplated their next move, aguas frescas emerged as the answer. These delicious, Mexican-inspired concoctions, featuring a range of flavors like horchata, hibiscus, and tamarind, quickly won the hearts of their patrons.

The TikTok Influence

A turning point for their business came when a TikTok trend introduced aguas frescas to a wider audience. Content creator Gracie Norton’s video, where she referred to the drink as “spa water,” triggered a conversation about the rebranding and appropriation of traditional Mexican cuisine.

In the age of social media, TikTok played a pivotal role in their success. Gracie Norton’s video, introducing the world to aguas frescas as “spa water,” sparked a conversation about cultural appreciation and innovation.

The Secret Ingredient: Freshness

One of the key factors that sets their aguas frescas apart is the use of fresh, high-quality ingredients. The family sources their fruits from a warehouse and prepares every beverage from scratch. The hallmark of a good agua fresca is its authentic fruit flavor, balanced water-sugar ratio, and natural ingredients.

Freshness is the family’s secret ingredient. They meticulously source the freshest fruits, crafting each agua fresca from scratch. The result? A beverage that captures the true essence of the fruit.

Keeping It Cool

To ensure that the aguas frescas remain refreshing throughout the day, the family keeps them cool by adding ice and topping up the containers without diluting the flavor.

Maintaining that refreshing taste is a top priority. They add ice and replenish the containers throughout the day, ensuring that each sip is as invigorating as the first.

The Local Attraction

With the temperature hitting at least 55 degrees, residents of Chicago Lawn can rely on Diaz and her family to set up their colorful row of aguas frescas containers. Their front yard, right in front of Tarkington Elementary, becomes a local attraction, with people queuing up or driving by to enjoy the flavors.

When the mercury rises, the residents of Chicago Lawn know exactly where to find a cool, delicious treat. The colorful row of aguas frescas containers, set up right in front of Tarkington Elementary, beckons locals and passers-by alike.

A Dream of Year-Round Service

Diaz and her family aspire to provide their delightful service year-round. They have been working on opening a brick-and-mortar location at 3115 W. 71st Pl., confirming their commitment to the community.

Their vision extends beyond seasons. Diaz and her family are determined to bring their delectable aguas frescas to the community year-round, with plans to open a brick-and-mortar location at 3115 W. 71st Pl.

The Vision of “Las Delicias de Michelle”

Their dream venture will be named “Las Delicias de Michelle,” incorporating the whole family’s passion and dedication. Despite the challenges of city requirements and regulations, the family is determined to bring this dream to life.

“Las Delicias de Michelle” isn’t just a business; it’s a testament to their family’s vision and commitment. Despite the hurdles they face, they are resolute in their quest to make it a reality.

Embracing Healthy Competition

In the eyes of Oscar Michelle, surrounding street vendors are not competitors but fellow contributors to the community. He believes that a successful business is built on three pillars: quality service, quality products, and loyal customers who help spread the word.

Oscar Michelle sees their fellow street vendors not as rivals but as fellow contributors to the community. He firmly believes that success is built on three essential pillars: quality service, quality products, and a loyal customer base that becomes their greatest advocates.