The mission of The Butcher & Larder is to be Chicago’s first sustainable, all whole animal butcher shop. We custom cut meat from animals that are responsibly raised on small, Midwestern family farms. In addition, we make a variety of sausages, patés and prepared deli items such as ham, bacon and corned beef for retail sale. We offer butchering and charcuterie classes (sausage making, etc.) at the shop, and plan to periodically hold small, casual family-style dinners.
While our aim at The Butcher & Larder is to provide our community with the highest quality meat cut to order, hand made sausages and other specialty items, we have already made arrangements to do business with many of our colleagues in the restaurant community. We will be developing sausage recipes, producing various charcuterie items and supplying meat to a number of respected restaurants.
Over the last eight years Rob and Allie Levitt have garnered a reputation in the Chicago restaurant community as champions of locally raised sustainable products and have formed close relationships with small Midwestern farmers. We have received positive local and national press for our cooking, butchering and our classes and demonstrations.
Now, more than ever, people are excited about cooking at home, and are proudly declaring themselves ‘foodies.’ We look forward to offering our community a fun, informative environment to purchase the highest quality meats while supporting the local food movement and small family farmers.
Over the last eight years Rob and Allie Levitt have garnered a reputation in the Chicago restaurant community as champions of locally-raised sustainable products and have formed close relationships with small Midwestern farmers.
Rob and Allie met at the Culinary Institute of America in New York and soon found themselves living together and working in some of Manhattan’s best kitchens. They eventually moved to Chicago and got married. Their resumes include time at North Pond, Marché, del Toro, La Tache, Fiddlehead Café, 312 Chicago, Gramercy Tavern and The Park Avenue Café.
Days off were often spent shopping at Chicago’s Green City Market and cooking together at home. They formed relationships with farmers and developed a cooking style that was simple, rustic and restrained. Eventually the opportunity to put this into a restaurant setting presented itself and they opened mado in the Wicker Park/Bucktown neighborhood. mado received local and national acclaim for its simple, rustic cooking and whole-animal approach. Most famous for their charcuterie and desserts, mado also gained attention for their use of whole animals, including a variety of offal dishes and their pig butchering demonstrations.
As all good things must come to an end, mado eventually closed, but Rob’s love for butchering and working with farmers led to The Butcher & Larder. Their kitchen staff was happy to follow them and Rob and Allie are now proud to say they own and operate Chicago’s first sustainable, whole-animal butcher shop.
Richard has been working with Rob and Chris since the Fiddlehead Café days. He helped open mado and The Butcher & Larder. Growing up on the rough streets of Chicago’s west side, Richard found direction in the form of his electric bass. After a brush with fame on an early episode of Soul Train, a good part of his 20s and 30s were spent in Europe touring with funk bands and doing a bit of session work. Longing for his closely-knit family, Richard returned to the states to be with his kids, his grandchildren and his mother. Richard’s responsibilities defy classification as he wears many hats. We couldn’t do it without him.
Chris Turner loves food, but is most assuredly not a foodie. He loves good food made by good people, from a great wedge of cheese from Upland’s dairy to a Dinkel’s donut. Originally from Jackson, MI, home of the ‘Coney Dog,’ art and music took Chris all over the country and in an effort to support his art, found himself in kitchens.
His experience ranges from slinging hash in Denver to Orwell-esque hotel cooking to some of Chicago’s finest restaurants. He and the Levitts have been working together for the better part of the last nine years culminating in the opening of the Butcher & Larder. Prior to that he was their Sous Chef at mado and Rob’s Sous at Fiddlehead Café. Chris’s work as a musician has landed him featured spots at the Denver Noise Festival and the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival.
A graduate of Chicago’s Kendall College, Amanda has spent the better part of her career working with the Levitts. After brief stints at Everest and Newman’s, she came to mado with an interest in butchering and charcuterie. Her time and hard work there led to a position on the opening team of The Butcher & Larder. Amanda is a connoisseur of mac ‘n cheese, a lover cats and an avid Colts fan. Her time at B&L is coming to a close as she looks east to New York City to get back into kitchens and further hone her skills. Her presence, quirks and all, will be missed.
Danielle is the newest member of The Butcher and Larder bunch and came to us from the good folks at Lula Café and Nightwood. In the days before opening she peppered our inbox with emails hoping to gain some experience cutting and making sausages. When it came time to add a bit of part-time help to the staff, her persistence and resume, bolstered by a gift of delicious, home-brewed black IPA put her at the top of the list. She is now full time and spearheads the sausage-making efforts. Danielle is a graduate of Kendall College, an avid home-brewer and budding harmonica player.