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Butcher & Larder Shut Down by City for Lack of Business License

By Alisa Hauser | October 31, 2013 9:14am | Updated on October 31, 2013 10:34am
 The Butcher & Larder, 1026 N. Milwaukee Ave., has a "business closed" sticker on its window.
The Butcher & Larder, 1026 N. Milwaukee Ave., has a "business closed" sticker on its window.
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Ken Kanno

NOBLE SQUARE — A small butcher shop in Noble Square known for working with local farms and being led by a man who, according to some accounts, has "done more for meat than anyone in this city since Upton Sinclair" has been shut down by the city.

The city said the Butcher & Larder at 1026 N. Milwaukee Ave. was ordered closed because it did not have a business license.

The celebrated shop's Facebook page described the situation as "nothing too serious," and a co-owner said he hoped to reopen by Friday.

"Hey folks. We're having some 'issues' with the good City of Chicago. Nothing too serious ... . We appreciate your patience and will be back slinging sausages before you know it!" read the Facebook update.

The online update coincided with a bright yellow "Business closed by Order of City of Chicago" sticker dated Oct. 30 hanging in the butcher shop's window.

The sticker is from the city's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, which regulates business licenses, and not the from the Health Department, which oversees health inspections.

David Staudacher, a spokesman with the city's Department of Affairs and Consumer Protection, told DNAinfo Chicago Thursday that Butcher & Larder "never had a business license there."

"Our records show we were out there on May 31, and they didn't have a license, and we gave them a notice," Staudacher said.

After the notice was issued, Butcher & Larder applied for a license, but it was on hold on due to "unresolved debt with the City of Chicago," Staudacher said.

Staudacher did not know how much the city was owed, but he said that Butcher & Larder passed a health inspection.

As for the debt, Staudacher said Butcher & Larder's owner Rob Levitt "could also have unpaid parking tickets, it could be something like that."

Businesses that operate without a license face $1,000 fines.

Retail Food Service licenses begin at $660 and are renewed every two years for shops under 4,500 square feet.

Butcher & Larder's Levitt called the situation "unfortunate" and related to "some old business that I thought was taken care of."

He declined to comment on the debt.

Levitt said he took to Facebook immediately after the sticker went up to be "proactive," and with the help of his attorney, he hoped to reopen by Friday.

Levitt and his wife, Allie Levitt, previously owned Mado restaurant at 1647 N. Milwaukee Ave., where Allie Levitt was known for her shortbread cookies.

Rob Mado previously hosted butchering and charcuterie (sausage-making) lessons on site at Mado, as well as in the Butcher & Larder storefront.

A 2011 YouTube video shows Levitt butchering a whole pig at Mado, and an August feature in Chicagoist spotlights Rob Levitt as one of the 7 best butchers in Chicago.