Alec Mikhaylov, The Russian Sausage King of Chicago

Photo: courtesy Alef Sausage

We were just talking about a new cafe that sources some of its cured meats from traditional Eastern European sausagemakers in Chicago… and as if on cue, here comes Crain’s with the story of a Ukrainian immigrant who launched the same sort of business to capture the precise taste of Russian-style sausages he grew up on. Alec Mikhaylov started Alef Sausage Co. a decade ago in a small plant in the city, and now has a 36,000-square foot facility in Mundelein where he makes about 45 different naturally-made Russian products, from bologna to dry salami:

We don’t use any cultures that make the product more sour. We use just our product that is all natural. We use meat and natural spices. Italian product uses a lot of pork, and we use beef.