Don’t be fooled by the recent addition of several meat-centric food options in Berkeley— it's still a haven for vegetarians, vegans and restricted eaters of all stripes. As Berkeleyside reports, The Butcher’s Son, an "old New York-style" vegan deli and butcher shop, is set to open in mid-February, joining a fast-growing trend of meatless butchers—America’s first meatless butcher is preparing to touch down in Minneapolis, joining the likes of Toronto’s Yam Chops and Australia’s Suzy Spoon's Vegetarian Butcher. The project comes from brother-sister team Peter Fikaris and Christina Stobing, whose family has a legacy of vegetarian dining in Berkeley; their father (and investor), Michael Fikaris, was previously the proprietor of Michael’s American Vegetarian Diner, a fifties-style diner on Telegraph that closed in the early '00s.
According to Fikaris, "Everybody is turning health-conscious. People are going vegan or ‘paleo.' Everybody is looking for healthy alternatives, not just for their own personal health, but for the health of the planet." Hence, a deli packed with vegan cheeses, meats, sausages, and salamis, as well as sandwiches, salads and sides utilizing those ingredients. They’ll even offer thin-crust pizza from their pizza oven, as well a raw deep-dish pizza. The siblings are aiming to make their menu completely organic and non-GMO, and will offer gluten-free bread. Mornings will include espresso drinks, donuts, pastries and bagels that adhere to the meat-free, health-conscious mission.
While bustling North Oakland is an obvious location for such a venture, the choice to set up shop in the former La Farine space at Solano Avenue is a particularly calculated move, as Fikaris and Stobing hope to capture business from the younger crowd in Albany and El Cerrito. "Nobody [else] is bringing this type of concept over to Solano," Fikaris told Berkeleyside. Or to most other places in the country, for that matter.