One of Chicago’s most unique grocery stores — home to a first-class butchery — is closing. After eight years, Local Foods will close its public-facing market later this month off the Elston Industrial Corridor. Its wholesale operations will continue, according to an email sent Friday afternoon to customers.
Local Foods is also home to Butcher & Larder, the butcher shop that got its start in Noble Square. Publican Quality Meats head butcher Rob Levitt carved out a name at Butcher & Larder before he moved to Fulton Market and left the butchery he founded behind in 2019. Butcher & Larder is also closing, according to the announcement. They supplied meats from a variety of farms from around the state including La Pryor and Kilgus. The meat case was filled with unique sausages and the staff was willing to talk about cuts of meat, even with those intimidated by the selection.
When it opened, the market also had a cafe helmed by chef Abra Berens. Berens is now a prolific cookbook author and has moved to Michigan where she’s the chef at Granor Farms, about a 90-minute drive from Chicago. She is currently on the longlist for consideration for the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Great Lakes.
At the start of the year, the shop reconfigured to a smaller footprint and adjusted inventories to find the right formula that would resonate with customers. In many ways, Local Food was still adjusting to life during the pandemic, with supply chains altered and restaurants pivoting from to-go orders to on-premise dining depending on COVID statistics.
While Local Foods sits in the shadow of where Sterling Bay intends to build Lincoln Yards, the business will continue. Local Foods is not just a market, but a wholesale supplier to restaurants, one that connected restaurants with local vendors. Last year, the wholesale side enjoy record sales, Local Foods says.
“Our distribution business is still going strong and will continue to supply your favorite restaurants with the Best of the Midwest,” Local Foods’ statement reads.
The closing date is Sunday, March 28 and the store is offering discounts to clear the shop out. Corned beef and other meat orders for St. Patrick’s Day will be honored.