Neighborhood consumers are always encouraged to shop and dine locally.
They will have the chance to do that more now, thanks to the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (CHSAS) selling two cattle to two local restaurants—and a third to CHSAS teachers.
CHSAS, 3857 W. 111th St., is selling two black Angus cattle to Firewater Saloon—which is across the street from CHSAS—and Horse Thief Hollow Brewing Co., in Beverly.
Both restaurants will have the cattle processed this winter.
Horse Thief Hollow purchased and butchered a cow from CHSAS three years ago, and CHSAS Principal Bill Hook hopes similar purchases will continue in the future.
Experts encourage consumers to eat products raised within 100 miles of where they live, but in this case, it’s just a few miles—or barely a block.
“It really doesn’t get much more local than that,” Hook said.
According to Hook, Horse Thief’s cow will be processed Dec. 31 at Chenoa Locker, Inc., just northeast of Bloomington, Ill.
Horse Thief Owner Neil Byers, of Beverly, said he will begin preparing the meat in his restaurant, 10426 S. Western Ave., the week of Jan. 13. He and his cousin Billy Byers, who is a butcher in Milwaukee, Wisc.; his kitchen manager, Scotty Arpin; his chef de cuisine, John Tarcak; and Chef Joe Flamm, a Beverly resident who won the TV show “Top Chef” this year, will each select, butcher and prepare a cut of beef.
Byers hasn’t created a menu or finalized a launch date yet, but he said he plans to use the cow’s head for his cut.
“It’s the most local beef in all of Chicago,” Byers said. “It’s really awesome. Obviously the school does a great job teaching these students about the circle of life and how to raise animals. To see it come from roughly two miles away to finish its life cycle, it’s pretty amazing.”
Hook said Firewater’s animal will be processed on Jan. 23 at Papineau Locker, just southeast of Kankakee, Ill.
Firewater, 3908 W. 111th St., opened in Mt. Greenwood in March 2018 and also has a location in the Edison Park neighborhood on the Northwest Side.
Messages at the restaurant were not returned, and plans for that cow have not been announced.
Hook said eight CHSAS faculty members are also purchasing a third cow, which will also be processed on Jan. 23 at Papineau Locker.
According to Hook, the cattle are 30 months old and weigh over 1,100 pounds; the school received them when they were yearlings and about half that weight.
They were originally grass fed, grazing on school grounds, and began eating grain and corn in July.
Hook said the school received the cattle from the Nebraska LEAD Program.
The school’s familiarity with that program, he said, adds to consumers’ knowing exactly what they’re eating.
“We got the cattle,” Hook said, “from the same source as last time.”