The Herbivorous Butcher has Grand Opening: a KE follow-up


Audrey Jewett

BSM alum and founder of the shop Kale Walch chows down at the Herbivorous Butcher, which had its grand opening this past January, and now has a location in Northeast Minneapolis.

Gunnar Lundberg, Staff Writer

The Herbivorous Butcher is a vegan and meat-free butcher shop in Northeast Minneapolis. Started by BSM Alum Kale Walch and his sister, the paradoxical meat-free butcher shop was opened with the help of family, friends, and 715 Kickstarter backers. I walked into the tiny stone building and was blown away by the similarity the interior had when compared to a traditional butcher shop. The place was poppin’ with customers constantly flowing in to purchase some “meat,” but eventually I was able to order the Deli Ham, Korean Ribs, a Sriracha Bratwurst, BBQ Ribs, and Garlic Peppercorn Cheese.

 The vegan meats and cheeses looked real. Now, of course they were real, but they looked strikingly similar to their creamy and beefy counterparts. Although made without meat and dairy, these tasty creations are not gluten-free. The butchers use a variety of wheat, oils, and natural flavorings to put soul and flavor into their products. I was aghast when one of the staff members told me that I could eat the meals cold or cooked.  I was a little uncomfortable eating it cold, so I took it home to heat it up and taste it. In addition, I enlisted the help of several fellow KE members to help me in trying and ranking the food I had bought. After some chewing, debating, and going back for seconds, we settled on this ranking:

  1. Korean Ribs

     The Korean Ribs were coated with a sweet soy sauce glaze, and topped with some sesame seeds. The seasoning and taste was incredible, and although the texture wasn’t necessarily similar to meat, it was surprisingly pleasant.

  2. Garlic Peppercorn Cheese

    The cheese was literally amazing. The strong garlic overpowered any hint of other flavors, and the texture was exactly that of a traditional brie cheese. Unless told otherwise, it would be impossible to tell that this cheese had no dairy.

  3. Sriracha Bratwurst

    The appearance was very concerning. The brat lacked a casing, and really looked like goopy Play-Doh. This was the hardest one to look at while tasting. However, once sufficiently chewed, this bratwurst was very tasty, and even had a texture similar to Italian sausage.

  4. Deli Ham

    The deli ham was cut into thin slices like at any local grocer. The color was a little more red than typical ham, but the taste was perfect. Somehow, the makers managed to get the flavors perfect, even down to the hint of honey that all the best hams have.

  5. BBQ Ribs:

    The BBQ ribs were not a crowd favorite. They were very well shaped and had the same texture as the Korean Ribs, but the taste was just a little off. The BBQ dressing was very overpowering, and not particularly good. If the seasoning was tweaked just a little bit, I think these ribs would have the potential to be amazing.

Overall, my first experience with vegan meat was pleasant and eye-opening. I had very low expectations going in, and was blown away by the variety and taste of all their meats. The Herbivorous Butcher provides a unique addition to the Minneapolis community, and their food is a worthwhile experience for anyone, but especially vegans and vegetarians. “This place is probably amazing if you’re vegan, but if you’re not, it’s probably just a place you’ll try once,” BSM senior Rachel Lyons said. With no immediate plans to go back, I have to agree with her.