Herbie Butcher’s Fried Chicken (HBFC) to open in Minneapolis as the first vegan fried chicken store in Minnesota. HBFC is a new concept from Guam-born sibling entrepreneurs Kale and Aubry Walch who started the Minneapolis-based company The herbivorous butcher 2016 as the first vegan butcher shop in the USA. The menu at HBFC revolves around vegan seitan-based fried chicken, which contains Kale Walch’s secret breading and is served with a homemade sauce or as part of a cookie sandwich. The store also offers side dishes like mac and cheese and coleslaw, as well as cookies with maple butter and milkshakes with a variety of mix-ins.
With the new business, the Walch siblings want to continue their mission of creating vegan foods that improve their animal counterparts rather than replace them. “Our mission has always been to save the world by closing the void for omnivores who haven’t made the full leap to veganism and by making vegan meats and cheeses that are even better than their counterparts, that they were used to with us. Start doing just that, ”Kale Walch told VegNews. “Herbie Butchers Fried Chicken continues our brand’s mission by creating a fried chicken that won’t question whether a plant-based lifestyle is possible without sacrificing the foods we love.”
HBFC is slated to open in late spring and is available for takeout and delivery.
Vegan butcher for victory
As early as 2016, when the Walches opened The Herbivorous Butcher, the use of the term “vegan butcher” was widely criticized, but since then it has been widespread, not least because of the popularity of the expertly made vegan ribs, sausages and slices of the Minneapolis shop’s meat , Bacon, dried meat, cheese and deli sandwiches. Given the shift in perceptions about vegan foods in recent years, Kale Walch doesn’t think the vegan fried chicken shop will experience a similar setback in terms of semantics. “I think in the last seven years not only have the nomenclatures been disclosed, but big brands have decided that the words“ vegan ”or“ plant-based ”followed by almost anything can be capitalized [on],” he said.
One of those big brands is Nestlé, the parent company of the vegetarian brand Sweet Earth Foods, which makes vegan burgers, staples, meals, and more. In 2017, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) rejected The Herbivorous Butcher’s trademark application for the term “Vegan Butcher”, stating that the term was “merely descriptive”. Shortly thereafter, Nestlé registered the trademark “The Vegan Butcher,” which the USPTO nearly approved, if not because of an objection filed by The Herbivorous Butcher. After a long struggle, The Herbivorous Butcher emerged victorious when Nestlé stopped pursuing the term.
The Walches don’t plan on chasing the brand to keep the term open to all innovators. Instead, the duo want to focus on improving their craft as a vegan butcher and exploring new concepts like HBFC. “The sky is the limit for vegan food right now, and every day we learn more about new techniques and flavors to make our products even better,” said Kale Walch. “We have also learned our strengths as a company and what really excites us will drive our growth forward and upward.”