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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, March 1

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« Ain't No Thing but a Chicken Wing What Winter's Made of »

Openings Sun Jan 16 2011

The Happiest Butcher

Best business card holderToday this could only be Rob Levitt (although I'm sure his staff are also equally happy), since he's opening The Butcher & Larder today from noon to 4pm. He'll also be open on Monday, which many of you should have off work, from 10am to 7pm. He's starting out with just cuts of meat to sell, but will have his full selection of sandwiches and other noshables on Wednesday.

We stopped in yesterday, hoping to have the opportunity to be fully legitimate customers, but they weren't ready for a full launch. But even though he was in the middle of stuffing dozens of feet of breakfast sausage (partially flavored by a gallon of Vermont maple syrup), he and his team took a few minutes to chat with us about his favorite cookbooks (Babbo by Mario Batali being on the list), talk about the farms he'll be purchasing from (Slagel, Dietzler, and Gunthorp), his favorite cuisine (Italian), and how delicious it would be to have taco shells made from pork skin.

Rob Levitt removes the skin from a pork belly

The last time I'd spoken with Rob was in July when he was still working at Mado. I'd purchased (with a few friends) a side of beef that was delivered to him and we picked it up. When I think about the Rob I talked to in July and compare him to the Rob I talked to yesterday while he wielded a knife in his new space with high ceilings, smooth white walls, and cute pigs sprinkled throughout the shop, I saw a very different man. In July he was confident, but yesterday he was confident and happy. His shoulders were relaxed and his smile was wide as he removed the skin from an entire pork belly. (His bacon will not have the rind attached.)

The "menu"

Thankfully he let me come home with the skin from that pork belly, which I'll be turning into what I hope is a delicious dish shortly. And if it isn't, I'll place an order for more pork skin and try it again. Now that he's officially open, I look forward to being able to try lots of different cuts of meat in lots of different ways. Not only is Rob happy in his new shop, but he's also happy to share ideas for food and how to prepare it. Watching him untie knots in sausage casing, it is obvious that he takes great care not to waste resources. I have no doubt that his "waste not, want not" philosophy will continue to result in people challenging their taste buds at his suggestion. But now it will be in their own kitchen, instead of one he works in.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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