More Than Just a Butcher
Growing up, I had very little knowledge of what a butcher did, let alone knowing one. My only image of a butcher was Sam on The Brady Bunch. My reality was the prepackaged products at the local grocery store. Wanting to find the direct source to our food is what led my husband and I to Green City Market, where I first met Rob Levitt of The Butcher and Larder at the Chef’s Demo. He was demonstrating how to butcher a whole lamb and describing the cuts. What impressed me the most about Rob, was his wealth of knowledge and easy-going personality. I could sense his passion and desire to share with others about butchering and sustainable meats.
Waste Not Want Not
Rob, along with his wife Allie, opened The Butcher and Larder with the mission to be Chicago’s first sustainable all whole animal butcher shop. The couple is certainly not new to the Chicago food community, having developed a reputation over the last eight years as, most notably at the now shuttered Mado Restaurant, as champions of locally raised sustainable products. It was at Mado where they received national and local acclaim for simple and rustic cooking, as well as whole-animal approach, featuring offal dishes and pig butchering demonstrations. After Mado closed, Rob’s love for butchering led to The Butcher and Larder’s opening.
The close relationships Rob and Allie formed with the Midwestern farmers, further their aim in providing the highest quality product. The Butcher and Larder custom cuts meat from animals that are responsibly raised on small, Midwestern family farms. Nothing goes to waste, so that you will find items utilized from every part of the animal, including a variety of sausages, patés, and terrines. Specialty items are occasionally featured, including collaborations with chefs and purveyors. The Butcher and Larder also maintains relationships with fellow colleagues in the restaurant community, where you can find their product used in menu items.
Fostering a Learning Environment
Rob is wonderful about sharing his knowledge, offering classes periodically throughout the year such as butchering and sausage making. He also has hosted special events, featuring guests such as renowned food writer, Michael Ruhlman, continuing to create a dialogue about his passion.
When you visit The Butcher and Larder, it is not about just purchasing meat. You are learning about about what you are purchasing. If you have questions, Rob and his staff are extremely helpful. Not sure about how to cook or prepare your meat? Not a problem. Rob has given my husband and I tips on many occasions. In fact, we feel grateful for what Rob provides us. He is like an extension of our family, kind of like how Sam was to the Brady family!
Photo credit: The Butcher & Larder