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COVER FEATURE//HBFC of the restaurant, while families and teenagers make up more of the population near the front. Honey Butter is not only a good business plan. It’s also a manifesto and a social betterment project for everyone involved. The commitment to social justice extends beyond their ideology about food. Christine and Josh assured me that they are “pretty progressive business owners.” They give their employees a good wage, health benefits, and livable working hours. They also try to do what they can to develop their staff’s leadership potential. Not only should the food be sustainable, in their view, but the business as a whole needs to be something that can last and that means having others who can take charge, develop ideas, and lead when they aren’t around. Although the original chicken recipe is still 95% the same as it was when they started, they encourage their staff to be creative with food and drink ideas. “We want [our employees] to have good careers, good lives, and we want to spark their creativity,” Christine said. “Our focus has shifted to day to day,” Josh added in. 28 <strong>CUSP</strong> MAGAZINE WINTER ’14 ISSUE
“We are still focused on our food, but they cook the food the way we all decided it should be cooked. We’ve all collectively decided on how it should taste.” They both played coy when asked if they planned to expand in the near future, so for now we will have to assume that the only location you can get HBFC is at its location in Avondale. However, after years of acclaim in the Chicago culinary realm, we can assume that Christine and Josh are going to continue to be examples for other aspiring restaurant entrepreneurs of how to combine community building and sustainable cooking into a successful business model. In training their staff to be creative and community focused, we can be sure that whether or not they expand HBFC or the Dinner Club, that they will have a big impact on future leaders in the restaurant industry. One can’t help but wonder if that might be one of their underlying goals as well. “Christine and I would like to think that we are spiritual advisors— culinary spiritual advisors,” Josh told me. “Culinary priests!” Christine exclaimed. “Culinary rabbis,” Josh shot back. It’s clear that these two are passionate about their restaurant. They are not only the purveyors of delicious fried chicken, but also community leaders committed to making Chicago a more socially just place. Honey Butter offers not only an innovative take on one of the city’s favorite dishes, but also a social betterment project for their customers, staff, and community. For more information, and to order online, visit http://www. honeybutter.com/. <strong>CUSP</strong> MAGAZINE WINTER ’14 ISSUE 29