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Meet Galen Garretson of Town Cutler in West Loop

Today we’d like to introduce you to Galen Garretson.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Galen. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Before opening Town Cutler, I worked in kitchens for over ten years and came up with the idea of opening a knife store while I was a Sous Chef at Quince. I spent a lot of my day butchering whole animals and wished I had a store to visit where I could pick up great knives, feel them, and also learn more about knives. The kitchen prep table at Quince is in front of a big, pretty window, and I spent my day in this beautiful kitchen, surrounded by the best of everything, always striving for perfection in what we were doing. I’ve always been fascinated by knives and as I started to think about retiring from professional cooking, I wanted to bring the same quality and attention to detail from these high level kitchens into a knife shop.

After opening Town Cutler in 2011, I met Mastersmith Aaron Wilburn and began visiting his shop with an interest in learning how to make knives. A primary goal of mine had always been for Town Cutler to have an in-house line of cutlery and within a couple of years, we started making and selling custom culinary knives.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Town Cutler has many sides to the business, including service, retail, and manufacturing, which all have their separate challenges. However, we’ve been extremely fortunate to meet some great people and continue to grow every year.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Town Cutler is a destination for high-quality knives and a hub for professionals and home cooks to share in their passion for cutlery and cooking. At our San Francisco and Chicago locations, we offer a curated selection of exceptional cutlery and culinary goods from around the world. We also provide expert knife sharpening, restoration services, and our in-house line of custom-made knives and waxed canvas and leather culinary bags and scabbards.

With Town Cutler I wanted a place where people could feel comfortable no matter their level of experience, knowledge, or budget. Even though we’re a “nerdy” knife shop, we strive for a high level hospitality and service in everything we do.

What were you like growing up?
I had always been fascinated with knives and learned how to sharpen from my dad, who was also a knife nerd. I got my first pocket knife at five and continued to collect knives from then on. My fascination with knives was the main thing that originally brought me into kitchens.


  • We offer whetstone hand sharpening at our stores starting at $1/inch ($5 min. per knife).
  • We currently have four lines of Town Cutler handmade knives which range from $70 – 420 per knife.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Alison Christiana

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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