Gene's Sausage Shop
Derek Luszcz seemed destined to love encased smoked meats. He grew up in the meat-and-potatoes Midwest, the son of Eastern European immigrants, Alice and Gene, who started the family business with a butcher shop in the Northwest side of Chicago over forty years ago. For Derek, that meant working at the butcher shop since childhood -- after school, on weekends and through holidays. Still, despite his passion for food, Derek’s professional career started in a much different direction. After earning a dual degree from Syracuse University, in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Derek landed at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, where he started as a volunteer in the laboratory but quickly rose to Project Manager of the aquarium’s multi-million dollar expansion of its star exhibits. The seven-year project taught Derek a great deal in terms of management, which he would soon leverage as his career transitioned toward the family business.
In 2000, Derek began working at his parents’ shop -- Gene’s Sausage Shop and Deli. There, under the watchful eye of of his dad, Gene, and long-time sausage maker, Stanley Majka, Derek gained invaluable hands-on experience in butchering and sausage making. Six years later, the Luszcz family decided to open a second store, this one in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago. What began as a quick remodel of an existing 2500 square foot German delicatessen, turned into a completely new and expansive construction project. The result was a state-of-the-art, four level, 18,000 square foot gourmet delicatessen, sausage shop and rooftop beer garden. In 2007, Derek and co-owner and sister, Yolanda Luszcz Parker, opened the doors of the new Gene’s Sausage Shop and Deli, which carries on the Luszcz family tradition, for more than 41 years, of serving Chicago’s insatiable hunger for encased meats and specialty foods. Gene’s Sausage Shop has been recognized as one of the premier butcher shops in Chicago. It has been featured many times on television and in print, including ABC’s Hungry Hound, Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods and Food Paradise, 190 North, Bon Apetit, USA Today, and the Chicago Tribune.