Underground Food Collective
The meat processing wing of the Underground Food Collective has doubled its staff.
The Good Food Awards launched four years ago in San Francisco to highlight American craft food and beverage products that are not just tasty, but sustainably and responsibly made. It is an award that quality retailers all over the country look at in order to stock their shelves.
Wisconsin has been doing well at the awards: Death's Door Spirits, Spirit Creek Farm, Quince & Apple, Lakefront Brewery, and Kickapoo Coffee have all taken home medals in the past couple of years. Significantly, Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Upland's Cheese has won every year the awards have been offered, and Underground Meats has now won awards two years in row.
Last year, Underground Meats earned honors for its salami and goat copa. This year, it was its sopressata that caught the judges' eye. "We're building notoriety and getting a name from this second win" says Jerry Traczyk, manager of Underground Meats.
The meat processing wing of the Underground Food Collective has doubled its staff from four to eight employees since last year, and is planning on hiring in anticipation of future demand as the company acquires a license to wholesale across state lines. They plan to have that license in the next few months.
Currently, Underground Meats can only be sold to consumers across state lines -- and do so via Provisions by Food52.
"We're looking at probably doubling the size of our facility in the next few months as well," says Traczyk, who notes that after the Good Food Award wins there is a waiting list of national retail clients.
Nearly 60 restaurants and butcher shops in Wisconsin, as well as nearly 15 retail outlets, currently sell Underground Meats.
The Underground Food Collective also plans to open its new restaurant behind the current Underground Butcher building at 811 Williamson St. The project has been in the works long enough to already have received a liquor license, with construction slated to begin in the next few weeks.
"This project will be very different from Forequarter," says Mel Trudeau, a partner in the business. "It is about twice the size and will take reservations." The restaurant will be called Middlewest, and will serve dinner and brunch. Trudeau expects Middlewest to be open within the year.