Meet the Most Innovative Plant-Based Fried Chicken Restaurant

Herbie in Minneapolis is a cut above the rest.

Jul 23, 2021
Meet the Most Innovative Plant-Based Fried Chicken Restaurant | Herbie in Minneapolis is a cut above the rest.

The company that launched the first vegan butcher shop in the US just opened a unique fried chicken restaurant that serves vegan chicken in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is the latest venture of the famous shop’s founders – brother and sister Aubry and Kale Walch – who are leaders in innovative plant-based food.

The new eatery is called Herbie Butcher’s Fried Chicken and it was built on the success of the original shop. The pair opened The Herbivorous Butcher back in 2016 before the plant-based food revolution began.

The new casual fast restaurant will feature buckets of fully-vegan fried chicken, faux chicken and biscuits, mac and cheese, as well as coconut milk malts and shakes, according to Veg Out Magazine. All of these comfort foods together under one roof, sounds like a sure bet.

“Our mission has always been to try to save the world by bridging the gap for omnivores [who] haven’t quite made the full jump to veganism yet. By making vegan meats and cheeses that are even better than what they were used to, we start to accomplish just that. Herbie Butcher’s Fried Chicken continues our brand’s mission by making a fried chicken that won’t leave anyone questioning if a plant-based lifestyle is possible without sacrificing the foods we love,” co-founder Kale Walch told Veg Out Magazine.

It's this dedication to building a better mousetrap, metaphorically speaking, that made The Herbivorous Butcher a success. While the siblings were raised in Guam in a household that ate a lot of meat and seafood according to Fast Company. Upon arriving in the US as a teenager, Aubry decided to become a vegan to avoid eating anything that came from animals. Her brother Kyle also chose to become a vegan but for different reasons.

The siblings decided to try making their own plant-based versions of the foods they grew up on. “We first started making stuff because we weren’t satisfied with what was out there,” Kale Walch told Fast Company.

“There just weren’t a lot of options, and the ones available besides Tofurkey were not really that good yet, because they didn’t really need to be. There was no real competition, and there was nothing driving the vegan and vegetarian brands to get any better.”

They originally made bologna, pepperoni, Italian sausage, smoky house ribs, and teriyaki jerky; the foods that their family enjoyed and were not found in any vegan offerings at the time. After three years of experimenting with wheat gluten and seiten along with various other ingredients, the siblings came up with products that were so delicious that friends encouraged them to start selling their creations.

They started small by selling at farmers markets and festivals and after a successful Kickstarter campaign, they opened their brick-and-mortar vegan butcher shop. It was an instant success. The product line grew to include steaks, bacon, chicken and cheese; all vegan and all delicious. They didn’t know they were sparking a food movement.

Fast forward a few years and plant-based burgers, chicken, seafood and dairy have become a huge market. Brands like the Impossible Burger are a staple everywhere and fast-food giants like Burger King and Taco Bell feature plant-based food on their menus.

In the spring of 2020, the Herbivorous Butcher’s founders were getting ready to open a huge production facility that would allow their products to go to a much larger market but the Coronavirus put a stop to that. The butcher shop converted to curbside pickup only and plans were put on hold.

“I think it was a blessing in disguise,” Kale Walch said, “because we took a hard look at ourselves during the pandemic and we figured out what are the things that really excite us. And one of those things is crafting these experiences for people, beyond just feeding them.”

Now, 15-months later, the launch of Herbie Butcher’s Fried Chicken Is the result. If the vegan chicken is finger-licking-good, then who knows what the siblings will think of next. The sky seems to be the limit on coming up with exciting new plant-based foods.

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Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.