Five “Blue Sky” Delis Crafting Mind-blowing Meatless-Meat

Vegan delis, meatless butchers, phony baloney, “cruel free meat”! Vegan cuisine has been raised to a whole new level. Forget all those dry bean paste patties. This is about creating a meat-alternative that has the iron-rich taste of blood and the texture of a steak, the mouth-watering appeal of juicy bacon burgers or the mouth-feel of chicken and sausages. Here are a few pioneers in the space:

HERBIVOROUS BUTCHER was started by a Minneapolis sister and brother. The storefront and now online offerings include more than 100 flavors of sausage. YAMCHOPS in Toronto offers ironic plant-based items like “fish-less fish tacos”, burgers and chick ‘n schnitzels. THE BUTCHERS SON is a vegan deli in Berkeley. Its menu is so confusing because the photos and items seems so “normal”...Hoagies, bacon burgers, chicken parmesan, tuna melts….and yes, they are vegan! ATLAS MEAT FREE DELICATESSEN in Miami says its mission is to provide “healthy and nutritious vegan food, without losing sight of why people enjoy comfort food.” Its flagship product is vegan pastrami. NO EVIL FOODS in Ashville, NC says it’s all about flavor, showcasing entrees like “stir fries, curry, southern fried, pot pie, chicken piccata, marsala, chicken salad, marinated, grilled, slathered in buffalo sauce, slow cooked pot roast, stick-to-your ribs chicken & dumplings, and deli sandwiches.” MONKS MEATS in Brooklyn are based primarily on seitan, a protein made from wheat gluten. They use sauces like ginger kombu and chipotle for flavor and do home-comfort versions like “beef” hot pockets. Ketchup, anyone?