I’ve been following The Herbivorous Butcher on Instagram for years, hungrily scrolling through mouth-watering pics of gyros, flank steak, chicken parmigiana. During a recent trip to the Cities, I made it a point to go.

Stuck on the Turkey and Dill Havarti or the Tofu Banh Mi, a super friendly clerk suggested the latter because it’s not a menu regular. And, “Did I mind waiting seven minutes because it’s hot-pressed?”

“You betcha, I didn’t.” It gave me time to peruse the shop.

The Herbivorous Butcher in Minneapolis offers meatless pork chops, sriracha brats, chorizo summer sausage, maple bacon and vegan feta, pepperjack, queso, brie. (Melinda Lavine / mlavine@duluthnews.com)
The Herbivorous Butcher in Minneapolis offers meatless pork chops, sriracha brats, chorizo summer sausage, maple bacon and vegan feta, pepperjack, queso, brie. (Melinda Lavine / mlavine@duluthnews.com)

The space had an authentic feel with a butcher counter, where you place your order. Pork chops, sriracha brats, chorizo summer sausage, maple bacon sat in a display case, and nearby — vegan feta, pepperjack, queso, brie mmm.

There was a steady flow of customers; one asked for the BBQ sandwich, another for the dragon puffs — both items were out, and both were disappointed but good-natured about it.

There’s a love-seat style wooden bench for eating or scrolling while you wait. The vegan butchers were playing a retro ’90s mix that felt super comforting. They offered homemade vegan pop tarts and oatmeal cream pies, and in the corner, an independent vegan pie baker sold her goodies. Customers steadily came in to pick up orders from her. I sat on the bench to enjoy my sandwich before the drive back north.

The Herbivorous Butcher is founded by a Minneapolis sister-brother duo, who specialize in meat-free meats and cheese-free cheeses. Get your jerky with a side of zero-waste tips. (Melinda Lavine / mlavine@duluthnews.com)
The Herbivorous Butcher is founded by a Minneapolis sister-brother duo, who specialize in meat-free meats and cheese-free cheeses. Get your jerky with a side of zero-waste tips. (Melinda Lavine / mlavine@duluthnews.com)

The Tofu Banh Mi was perfectly panini-ed on a sourdough hoagie. Its crusty shell was hard with just the right amount of give. Inside, marinated tofu, wasabi vinaigrette, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, jalapeno and lucky dragon cheese were in perfect proportion. Each bite consistently smooth and zingy, exhibiting the punch of the traditional Vietnamese sandwich typically served with grilled beef.

That said, when a stray piece of dragon cheese fell off, eaten alone, this meat-eating vegan visitor could definitely tell the difference. Altogether though, this was a striking foray into vegan butchery, and I’d go again.

And again and again.

The Herbivorous Butcher

507 1st Ave. NE, Minneapolis

612-208-0992

theherbivorousbutcher.com