Local Foods (1427 W. Willow), which aims to be the first wholesale distributor and retailer of Midwest food, is on track to open before the end of the month.
One of those retailers, The Butcher & Larder, will begin moving in equipment this week (they're currently moving out of their Noble Square storefront) and they hope to be cutting up whole animals not long thereafter.
Owner Rob Levitt says that the last day was "very emotional" but that he and his crew are "really excited about this opportunity" to move "to this amazing, beautiful space that was built for us with our input."
The new location's cooler space, which Levitt jokes is "bigger than my apartment," will be two-hundred square-feet bigger than the entire previous space. The new location will also feature plenty more display space - more than four times when you include the new grab-and-go case.
There will also be an entire case just for cheese and charcuterie, a "big, beautiful, state-of-the-art smoker" that will enable them to smoke "hundreds of pounds of bacon at once," and a dry curing room that plans to be USDA-certified ("which is really cool because, once we're certified, we can sell wholesale"). That curing room will eventually be filled with salamis, coppas, prosciutto and country hams that will take about a year or so to be fully realized.
The Butcher & Larder previously held classes and demos during off hours, but those events will be upped considerably now that they'll have a separate private space for them. "We'll be able to use that space for cooks (who) want to do pop-ups. We definitely want to use that private dining room as much as we can," Levitt says.
Additional news come in the form of the location's café, Stock. Located opposite The Butcher & Larder, Stock will seat 45 and feature dishes from Local Foods executive chef Abra Berens (who Levitt says is "amazing"). Berens (Vie, Bare Knuckle Farm) will use ingredients customers can find throughout Local Foods to put emphasis on the idea of purchasing and eating locally.
Her menu items will include pasties (Cornish pies), smoked chicken and rice soup, beef fat-fried potatoes, as well as a variety of sandwiches, soups and salads that will be swapped out often, along with blue plate specials and lunch bags for those on the go.