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May 6

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Herbivorous Butcher

A butcher shop in Minneapolis that has all the meats and cheeses you’d expect from any of its kind - except that all the products are vegan. 

Whether for the purpose of health, animal welfare, or for environmental preservation, vegetarianism and veganism are surging in popularity nationwide. From 2009 to 2015, the number of vegetarians and vegans in America grew from seven million to a whopping 16 million.

This surge in popularity has opened up a market for vegan and vegetarian restaurants across the country, including, most recently, “The Herbivorous Butcher,” founded in Minneapolis in 2013.

The food for sale at the Herbivorous Butcher seems typical of that of any butcher shop - summer sausage, meatballs, salami, and chicken - but there’s one small difference: there is not a bit of meat in the entire store.

The owners of The Herbivorous Butcher are Aubry Walch and her aptly-named brother Kale, both of whom grew up in Guam. Aubry is an 18-year-long vegan, and after Kale watched her create meatless alternatives to Guamanian cuisine for an entire decade, he decided to become a vegan as well.

Once they both established their ongoing beef with carnivorism, they decided to start a business using the rare idea of a vegan butcher shop, and it turned out to be a job well done. They started bacon up their new recipes in the oven, and to ham it up they added unique meat-free items like the Sriracha Brat, the Mexican Chorizo, and the Huli Huli Hawaiian Ribs. They even created dairy-free cheeses like Garlic Pepper Havarti, Camembert, and Spicy Queso Blanco. The people of Minneapolis never sausage wonderful vegan options.

Each option is homemade and carefully crafted, packed with a variety of flavors, textures, and nutrients.

About 70% of the butcher shop’s customers are omnivores. Says Kale, “there’s a shift of empathy: people are starting to eat with their morals, with their conscious.” Considering that the store drew in over 5,000 customers on its opening weekend, the approach seems to be working.

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