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The Butcher & Larder Passes City Inspection, Opening Soon

It looks like the Butcher & Larder is one step closer to opening its doors: it passed city inspections on Thursday. Then last night, owner Rob Levitt posted a note on his blog chronicling the process of getting to this point, where the reality of opening was dangling like a carrot in front of his face. It wasn't just reading about the hours and hours of blood, sweat and tears (and presumably laughter) the crew put in to get the place ready for inspection that's compelling, it's the honest emotion Levitt lays out over what it means to him to open his own butcher shop in Chicago.

With a single word—PASS!—Levitt alerted the world on the shop's Facebook page they had passed the city's inspection, a final step in being able to open the doors. When the store will actually open is still unknown; Levitt tweeted yesterday they're simply awaiting their license. So hopefully it'll open this weekend.

But opening the doors also means facing reality of starting one's own business. And Levitt doesn't mince words: he's nervous. "The flood of support from the Twittersphere and Facebook, the barrage of emails and phone calls, the number of people stopping in to inquire about the shop and wish us luck (and god-speed!) was and continues to be overwhelming!," he wrote on the blog. "Chicago is really happy to have a butcher shop and, quite emotionally, I am happy to be your butcher! But I am also really scared."

This process has been a long-time coming. Even before Levitt and his pastry chef wife, Allie, left Mado two months ago, they had discussed this project. And now it's a reality. Levitt's comments on the blog sound like someone who has set up for a party and then worries that no one will show. But in this case, he's concerned about having enough meat, the right kind of meat and basically just meeting everyone's expectations.

"I have to remind myself that what we are doing is our idea of what a butcher shop should be, and we proudly stand behind it. Delicious, responsibly raised meat and house-made meat products reasonably priced, and a crew of good people you’ll want to get to know, and trust," he continues. "I have always believed that if you have a strong idea you are willing to go all out and risk everything for it is the right idea. And if it fails, at least you have your pride."

And at the end of the day, that fear comes from a place of passion. When you work so hard to open something you're proud of, you want people to love it. And fortunately, based on comments on the Web, it doesn't sound like Levitt will have any issues making fans.

"This means more to me than any restaurant job I’ve ever had and it is because I feel like I am doing some good, contributing something to and connecting with my city." Godspeed, indeed.
· Butcher's Grip [Blog]
· The Butcher & Larder [Facebook]
· Rob & Allie Levitt Depart Madp; Set to Open a Butcher Shop {~EChi~]

The Butcher & Larder

1026 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL