Is it pronounced Herbi-VOR-ous Butcher, or Herb-BI-vorous Butcher? Nobody could say for sure as we clambered into their Near Northeast storefront, bewildered by all the knife-themed decor. And yet, there was no blood to be seen! Meat? Oh yes, we'd found the nationally-renowned hotspot for steaks and sausages--made from plants. Welcome to The Herbivorous Butcher, a haven for all-you-vores (get it?), and the brain child of Aubry and Kale Walch, the powerful sister and brother duo pictured below.
"Kale and I both really wanted to do something for a living that would change the world," explained Aubry when I met with her this week. "And the only skill set we had was making meat substitutes." She laughed. Both bro and sis had become vegan in their early teens, and finally turned their passion into a booth at the Minneapolis Farmers' Market in 2013.
"We set up our 6 foot table at market on our first day not thinking we’d sell a single item. But we sold out the first day, and then we sold out the second day, and we started selling out every weekend." The idea of a locally-crafted meat substitute that was actually really delicious caught on, and before the duo knew it, they completed a successful Kickstarter campaign and opened their storefront in January 2016.
"At first the idea of opening a vegan butcher shop was really funny and everyone laughed really hard," explained Aubry, "and then, all of a sudden, everyone got really quiet." The store found overwhelming success almost immediately. The Herbivorous Butcher currently ships and wholesales nationwide.
"I think this is a little bit of what people were looking for in order to switch over to a plant-based diet, but maybe they didn’t realize this is what it was going to take. As a storefront we’re a safe space for people to come in and ask questions about veganism. We're really here to help people with that journey." Aubry and Kale will open a shop on both coasts within the next two years.