Chicago Tribune

2020 may have permanently altered how and what we eat

There were moments, early in the pandemic, when Joseph Musillami wasn’t sure how the family business would make it. Purely Meat Co., a commercial butcher in Chicago’s West Humboldt Park neighborhood that supplies mostly high-end restaurants, saw sales plummet 75% when the state banned indoor dining in March. It halted plans to expand into a 35,000-square-foot facility purchased late last year ...

There were moments, early in the pandemic, when Joseph Musillami wasn’t sure how the family business would make it.

Purely Meat Co., a commercial butcher in Chicago’s West Humboldt Park neighborhood that supplies mostly high-end restaurants, saw sales plummet 75% when the state banned indoor dining in March. It halted plans to expand into a 35,000-square-foot facility purchased late last year and more than double its current footprint, and let go of many of its 60 employees.

“It started out beyond scary when you think you’re going to lose your house,” said Musillami, whose wife, Maribel Moreno-Musillami, founded the company nine years ago.

Surviving 2020 felt like a “street fight,” Musillami said. But for all the struggles, he thinks the meat company will come out on top.

His wife created a website to sell Purely Meat’s products directly to consumers, and soon it became a

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