Congratulations to the Walch siblings – Aubry and Kale – for opening their brand new brick and mortar store in Northeast Minneapolis. The store is the very first of its kind… a vegan butcher shop.
When some people hear “vegan butcher” they have certain preconceived notions. I cannot help this, nor will those people probably listen to any argument/clarification anyone else could give. But let me say this, after seeing this shop firsthand, I can confirm: The Herbivorous Butcher feels like and operates like an authentic butcher.
I haven’t always been vegan – this is my 3rd year in which I comply by these moral and dietary guidelines – and in a previous chapter of my life, I even worked in a couple meat departments at grocery stores. I witnessed firsthand the “butcher atmosphere” and all the little touches that went into this industry. The Walch duo and their great staff upheld many of these traditions, minus one – no being died to create any of the goods sold.
A long wait
The idea of a vegan meat shop is one that I cannot take credit for, nor can I detail in this blog. The siblings who thought of the idea have been interviewed and the answers are scattered across the interwebs. With that said, I can share one thing, upon hearing about their idea via Kickstarter, my wife and I decided to donate/invest. I bought my wife a shirt in November 2014, knowing that it would at least be many months until they opened their shop.
Due to the intricacies that go into building an establishment that serves food, the project took a little longer than hoped, but on Saturday, January 23, 2016, the wait ended. Or rather, it just began.
I have frequented many of the pop-up shops that helped fund and give new ideas to the butcher team – often picking up a jerky snack to go along with whatever “main course meat substitute” we wanted. But the tricky part with all of those farmers markets and rotunda shops was the limited space and small quantities available. Hey, they were doing their best, but the demand coupled with a small work space to create the treats meant the inevitable “SOLD OUT” sign.
We knew (with help from Facebook, Twitter, and other media outlets) that the grand opening would be no different. But this time the wait was something else, something that felt bigger and better than just picking up food for the next week or so. This was celebration of two people causing their dream to become a reality and celebrating like-minded people who honestly believe that they are making the world at least a tiny fraction of a percent better.
The wait was close to 2 hours.
Good news: We acquired all our stomachs had hoped for, plus we got to be part of something bigger.
Truth be told, this place is trendy and vintage. Like I said before, it has the feel of a real butcher.
Here are some of the touches in visual form:
And here is my wife (Jael) and the dynamic duo that gave life to this vegan dream (Aubry and Kale Walch):
Lastly, here is my little, fluffy “daughter” (Evelyn) getting in on the action once we came back home:
Yep, there are even vegan goodies for puppies at the store. Not all products sold are made by the Walch gang (they have some other local and national products – caramels, dog treats, salsas, vegan eggs, etc.), but all the meat and cheese sold is made by them.
So there it is. A happy family, enjoying some food made out of love for every being on the planet. The secret ingredient to their meat (and their business) is truly love… and compassion. Lots of compassion.
Thank you, Aubry and Kale. Sincerely, thank you.