Owner and award winning butcher, Josh Klarer, grew up in Carbondale, IL and graduated from Carbondale Community High School in 1996. After graduating, he moved to Chicago where he worked in restaurants for seven years, both in the back of house and as a bartender. After taking a bicycle trip halfway across the country, Josh landed in California, and decided to escape the cold and stuck around for 10 years.
In one of northern California’s historic coastal fishing villages, Mendocino, Josh worked under renowned chef Allan Kantor of the MacCallum House. The cuisine was focused on the best and freshest ingredients sourced from local dairies, ranches, wineries, and produce farms scattered about the diverse agricultural region of coastal northern California.
In 2011, Josh moved to Durango, CO to work at the famous Ska Brewing Co, and ended up running his own catering venture for their summer concert series. While sourcing the ingredients for the catering events, he befriended the plant manager of a local organic meat processing facility, was offered the job as butcher and meat cutter, and immediately took the opportunity to learn a new craft.
While working as a butcher, he was invited to attend the “Hands Across the Rockies” Wyoming/Colorado Meat Processors Convention (AAMP), where he won Best In Show in four categories for his signature pastrami. Josh then went on to open up his own craft butcher shop offering his signature sausages, charcuterie, and rare cuts of meat that have been lost to time and the convenience of supermarket chains. His goal was to bring back craftsmanship and the use of fresh local ingredients to butchery.
After a successful run in Durango, Josh decided to sell the shop to move back to Carbondale to be closer to his family, and to help bring back some of the vibrant local culture he remembered growing up here in beautiful Southern Illinois. With the most recent venture, Underground Public House, he has partnered with his lady Laura Caughey to offer the community high quality food, craft butchered meats, local produce, innovative cocktails, and a large variety of craft brewed beers from around the region and world.