CultureBox’s goal is to increase knowledge and appreciation for fermented foods. We believe the more we can teach you the health benefits, cultural significance, and history of fermented foods, the better off your life and the lives of those around us will be.

The story of fermentation is the story of humankind’s ability to thrive when we work together and with the natural world around us.

Happy Customers

Years in Business

Local Farm Partners

Our Focus: Local

CultureBox strongly believes in supporting our local communities. As a business and as consumers, we strive to limit our environmental foodprint (yes, we’re funny).

We source as many ingredients as possible from Farmer’s Markets, Chicago co-ops, Midwestern farms and various Chicago businesses. By supporting local growers/sellers, we reduce the travel/carbon footprint of our food, can support small scale farmers, and we are able to support our local workforce. There is no end to the benefits of sourcing locally!


We send a newsletter about once every 2 months featuring our a la carte menu, favorite seasonal treats, easy at-home recipes, and more!

Sam Smithson

Sam Smithson

Culinary Director

Sam has been working in the restaurant industry since he was 17. He got his start near his hometown of Antioch, Illinois at a local farm-to-table restaurant. During college, Sam began to experiment with fermentation, and quickly grew an affinity for it. Sam moved to Chicago to begin working within the Girl & The Goat restaurant group, where he has continued his fermentation research and experimentation. Sam sees strong ties between fermentation, waste reduction, and community when it comes to his personal food interests:

“There’s a certain satisfaction that we get from working with natural processes. If we can find ways to work with the world around us and not against it, we can create sustainable and enjoyable ways to better both ourselves and our surroundings.”

Michaela Hrbacek

Development Director

Michaela is undoubtedly the sweetheart of the group. Michaela has an academic background in marketing and community-led efforts to advocate for active peace and justice. She now works in the corporate social responsibility space connecting people to their communities through volunteerism. She finds fulfillment in making people feel heard and connected to others. Michaela believes in CultureBox’s ability to connect people with a like-minded local community that also values sourcing food locally, eating fresh and whole foods, and supporting other Chicago social movements/businesses/artists.

2 Truths & A Lie
She has killed someone
She has been killed by someone
She is God

Michaela Hrbacek
Dustin Holsinger

Dustin Holsinger

Finance Director

Dustin worked the phones in a restaurant when he was 16 and that’s about as far as his food experience goes. Dustin is a longtime Chicagoan with a background in accounting and finance. He deals with the dollar bills of the operation, so basically imagine Wolf of Wall St meets indie-sk8r boi vibes. The mission of CultureBox and its focus on community building is something that really resonates with Dustin – he dares you to find one thing to disagree with.

Myth: Dustin can kickflip.

Fact: Dustin can skateboard.