As recently as 2015, the term “vegan butcher shop” was an unheard of oxymoron. Today, with dozens popping up throughout the world, the phrase doesn’t raise an eyebrow. These cleaver-slinging vegan entrepreneurs have proven that you can make meat from plants, and they’re changing the definition of butcher shop for good.
What is a vegan butcher?
Until recently, the words “vegan” and “butcher” weren’t often seen side-by-side. Veganism entails leading a cruelty-free lifestyle, and this means refraining from the consumption of animal-based foods and products. The word “butcher”, on the contrary, refers to someone who makes a living cutting up and selling animal meat.
While the term “vegan butcher” may sound like a contradiction, a vegan butcher creates plant-based meat alternatives. Instead of animal flesh, vegan butchers use ingredients such as seitan, tofu, and soy to recreate plant-based meats.
The rise of vegan butcher shops
In January 2016, sibling duo Kale and Aubry Walch made history when they opened The Herbivorous Butcher in Minneapolis, MN—the first vegan butcher shop in the US.
The team appeared on hit Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives the same year they opened, pleasantly shocking celebrity chef host Guy Fieri with their Vegan Turkey and Dill Havarti Sandwich.
Since then, plant-based butcher shops have continued popping up around the country and throughout the world.
Vegan butcher shops
From Berkeley, CA to Victoria, BC, here are the best vegan butcher shops that have the meats.
1 The Herbivorous Butcher in Minneapolis, MN
Many attribute the sister-and-brother duo behind The Herbivorous Butcher for pioneering the plant-based butcher movement. Kale and Aubry Walch opened up shop in 2016 with an extensive menu of deli meats, cheeses, steaks, sausages, and ribs. Today, they’re shipping their products nationwide and educating the mainstream audience about what vegan eating can be. Today, the siblings are keeping busy with their newest launch, vegan chicken shop Herbie Butcher’s Fried Chicken.
2 The Very Good Butchers in Victoria, Canada (plus US delivery)
Not far behind The Herbivorous Butcher, this Canadian vegan butchery began at a farmers’ market stall in 2016 before opening its brick-and-mortar in 2017. The company places an emphasis on butchering beans to make their meaty products, along with mixing in natural ingredients such as jackfruit, wheat gluten, and mushrooms. We love that we’re familiar with all of the ingredients on the label. Items range from vegan steaks to burger patties, plus sausages and chorizo.
3 YamChops in Toronto, Canada
Those who have been vegan for a while may have forgotten how to season and prepare meat. YamChops takes this hassle out of your dinner prep by offering a wide variety of seasoned, ready-to-go vegan meats. Rare yet delicious finds include Chick*N Schnitzel, Hickory BBQ Ribs, Szechuan Beef, and other internationally inspired protein options.
4 The Butcher’s Son in Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA
Like The Herbivorous Butcher, The Butcher’s Son is way more than a vegan meat shop. This college town deli serves a full menu for lunch and brunch in addition to an extensive and mouthwatering bakery menu. However, if you’re there just for the meat, they’ve got you covered with packaged smoked pastrami slices, seasoned steak slices, and more. SoCal residents, you’re in luck: The Butcher’s Son recently opened a ghost kitchen in Los Angeles to satisfy your cravings.
5 Chef Tanya’s Kitchen in Palm Springs, CA
When the founder of Native Foods—Tanya Petrovna—sold the company, she set up her own quaint café in a nondescript strip mall in Palm Springs, CA. Despite the remote location and lack of foot traffic, the restaurant flourished in the hot California sun. Petrovna now ships her seitan-based best-sellers nationwide. The Turkey Love Roast, pastrami slices, and BBQ ribs are all excellent choices.
6 Abbot’s Butcher in select regions (plus US delivery)
This Southern California vegan meat company got its start by sampling its fantastic “Chorizo” at farmers’ markets and health food stores. The selection of vegan Ground “Beef,” Chopped Chick’n, and “Chorizo” can now be found at select Whole Foods and other grocers such as Fresh Thyme, The Fresh Market, and independents. Nationwide shipping is also available via online retailer GTFO It’s Vegan and Hungry Root. Fun fact: this VegNews editor once worked as an Abbot’s Butcher sample girl. I watched many skeptic omnivores light up in complete shock that vegan “Chorizo” was “actually good.”
7 Before the Butcher (UNCUT) in California
Originally a wholesale distributor for food service, this Orange County, CA brand expanded into retail, beginning at a single Bristol Farms location in Yorba Linda. The plant-based butcher now has a line of meaty vegan burgers, crumbles, shreds, and chunks sold under its UNCUT brand.
8 Grass Fed in Rochester, NY
This vegan butchery got its start when its founders were gripped with an insatiable craving for a breakfast sandwich complete with the perfect meaty sausage. New vegans at the time, they took to the kitchen to develop the perfect plant-based meat. And the rest is, as they say, history. Today they’re whipping up deli slices, pâté, gyro meat, and everything in between right in the heart of Rochester, NY. Plus, they’re certified Kosher to boot.
9 Maciel’s Plant-Based Butcher & Deli in Los Angeles, CA
The city’s first full-service plant-based butcher and deli, Maciel’s serves more than just turkey, bacon, and pastrami. Founder Maciel Bañales Luna draws from her Mexican heritage to create Mexican-style ribs and chorizo. Soon, chicharrones will join the deli’s menu, sure to win over Angelenos.
10 The Boneless Butcher in Texas
Based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and available throughout the state, The Boneless Butcher is reimagining vegan steak and ribs with a Texan flare. Meaty seitan is slathered in Austin’s Own barbecue sauce for an experience that’s finger licking good. Stock up on Boneless Ribz, Smokehouse Chop crumbles, and even whole vegan steaks the next time you’re in the Lone Star State.