This isn’t a typical butcher shop. The menu at Minneapolis’ The Herbivorous Butcher features only plant-based meats and cheeses. And with only four people in line, it’s a slow Saturday morning—after all, the January 23 grand opening had more than 300 people waiting for hours. Why all the fuss?
Boasting 27 varieties of ‘meat’ and 13 options for ‘cheese,’ The Herbivorous Butcher is America’s sole vegan butcher shop. It’s already garnered a national following, which House Manager Brett Miller credits to curiosity. “It’s the buzzword. People want to know about this lifestyle,” he says.
Fake meats aren’t exactly known for their great taste. But sibling- owners Kale—yes, his name is Kale— and Aubry Walch’s recipes are the exception to the rule. They use an ancient Chinese method of diluting dough so it’s left with gluten protein, which has a chewy, meaty texture. Spices and natural flavoring are then added to create faux sausage, ribs, deli meats, and even bacon.
“It really all tastes good,” says local customer Jeff Diamond. Since opening day, he’s returned several times and left with hands full of pastrami and other tasty varieties.
The shop is already making plans to expand their menu and break into the Los Angeles market. Despite its growth, The Herbivorous Butcher’s team doesn’t want to force a vegan diet on anyone. They just want to make the lifestyle more accessible. “We want to keep succeeding,” Kale says. “And bridge the gap for as many as we can.”