Lonely Planet Writer

Another first for the Big Apple? A new meatless butcher shop comes to Brooklyn

A new butcher shop is opening in Brooklyn, but it won’t be selling T-bone steaks, pork chops, or racks of lamb. In fact, it won’t be selling any actual meat. Monk’s Meats will be New York City’s first vegan butcher shop.

Vegan roast
Vegan roast Image by Monk’s Meats

After starting in 2013 with a stall selling vegan BBQ at Brooklyn’s popular foodie market Smorgasburg, founders Chris Kim and Rebecca Lopez-Howes launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to help fund a bricks-and-mortar shop in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighbourhood. Specialising in plant-based proteins, the shop will carry steaks, burgers, meatballs, and sausages made from wheat, soy, mushrooms, beans, and grains, as well as sandwiches and prepared foods. Find options ranging from seitan steaks and shiitake bacon to meatless balls and vegan mushroom lasagne. Like any good butcher shop, there will also be spreads and sauces, salads and slaws, and pickles.

The pair have practised a plant-based diet for the past twenty years, and the idea for the shop began as a light-hearted response to a question they often field. “One of the most frequently asked questions every vegan gets is ‘where do you get your protein?’” Kim told Lonely Planet. “While preparing Sunday dinner on a winter evening in 2010, we somewhat playfully had the idea of opening a vegan ‘butcher shop’ where customers could find a wide range of plant based proteins in useful ‘cuts’ and preparations. Over the next few months, the idea became an obsession for us.”

These days plant-based eaters have a wealth of options, including vegan ice cream, donuts, tacos, and burgers. “Part of our motivation in starting Monk’s is a firm belief that following a plant based diet shouldn’t entail missing any dishes,” says Kim. “Anything you can do with meat, we can do with vegetables and plants.”

The shop is slated to open in the spring, when vegans will finally have a definitive answer to the question, “where do you get your protein?”