Thanks to their mention in The Reader's article about renegade charcuterie-making dads,
the USDA an agency that appears to be the Illinois Department of Agriculture paid a surprise visit to Frontera Grill today, seemingly with the intention of catching Rick Bayless in the act of possessing illegal meat. This despite the fact that the article, written by our pal Mike Sula, didn't in any way connect Frontera (and North Pond, who the Feds have promised to visit next) to the underground meat-makers, short of noting that they independently all get their pork from the same supplier.
And what success that harvested: despite the
Feds' State's ostentatious flexing of muscle, a Frontera rep told Sula that all the restaurant was forced to get rid of was "one box of bacon that was missing its shipping label." (The IDA told Sula they found "some uninspected product with no mark of inspection on it,” totalling "80 pounds of bacon and some headcheese, which did have a Wisconsin Ag Dept inspection mark on it but not a USDA one.") The agency has told North Pond's Bruce Sherman that he can expect a visit later in the week (though then told Sula that they "maybe, maybe not" will visit), at which point we expect them to find and dispose of maybe a slightly wilted late-season cauliflower.
Rick Bayless's Frontera Raided by USDA; Bruce Sherman's North Pond Is Next [The Food Chain/Reader]