First Vegetarian Butcher Shop To Open In Minneapolis

Written by Emi Boscamp

When you think of a butcher shop, you likely picture sausage links dangling alongside dry-aged ribs and a display case full of all different cuts of marbled beef.

But the butcher shop being opened by siblings Kale (yes, Kale) and Aubry Walch has none of that — in fact, it's vegetarian. The Walches plan to open the Herbivorous Butcher in Minneapolis next spring. Their goal is to bring their customers both the delicious, smoky meat flavors and the juicy, coarse texture they might crave -- but without the meat.

"Meat was a big part of the dinner table, growing up," Kale told NPR. "Oftentimes, we had three or four different meats at our dinner table," his sister agrees. "When I decided to go vegetarian when I was 14, I really wanted to recreate those same items. I missed them."

But how will they replicate these characteristics so unique to meat? "We use pinto beans, for example, in our sausages," Kale said. "That gives it a really meaty heft that's unparalleled in the meat-alternative market." They said the nutritional yeast gives a savory flavor to many of their products. They also use jackfruit, a starchy tree fruit that gives foods a veiny, fibrous texture, according to Kale.

After years of developing their recipes with the help of vegan and vegetarian friends, they finally have a menu set, which includes Italian sausage, smokey house ribs, pepperoni deli bologna, Mexican chorizo, maple sage breakfast sausage, teriyaki jerky, and maple-glazed bacon, according to their website.

Their project was funded by a Kickstarter campaign and has already exceeded its $50,000 goal.

The siblings are excited to be the go-to spot for local vegetarians to come pick up their "meat" — instead of the frozen food aisle. Kale and Aubry want to help people serve up a proud, perfectly seasoned imitation turkey on Thanksgiving instead of some sad tofurkey.

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