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Meatless Butcher's Shop To Bring Wheat Steaks and Sausages to Bed-Stuy

By Camille Bautista | December 5, 2016 4:43pm | Updated on December 6, 2016 5:54pm
 Monk's Meats, a Brooklyn-based food company specializing in plant-based meat alternatives like this seitan brisket, is opening a brick-and-mortar shop in Bedford-Stuyvesant in the spring.
Monk's Meats, a Brooklyn-based food company specializing in plant-based meat alternatives like this seitan brisket, is opening a brick-and-mortar shop in Bedford-Stuyvesant in the spring.
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Hayley Shore/Monks Food Co.

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — It's a butcher's shop without the butchering.

New Bed-Stuy store Monk's Meats is serving up steaks and sausages made of "wheat meat."

The vegetarian purveyor, already well known from its Smorgasburg stall, will be opening in its first brick-and-mortar location this spring.

Founders Chris Kim and Rebecca Lopez-Howes started making their signature seitan foods out of their Bed-Stuy home in 2010, eventually branching out to commercial kitchens across the city and Smorgasburg in 2013.

Seitan, or vegetarian meat made from wheat, is high in protein, Kim said. The dough can be shaped, steamed, braised or boiled to create a different textures.

“When you apply heat it gets into this really nice chewy, satisfying, meaty texture,” said Kim.

 “It’s tough so you can grill it and do a lot more things you can’t necessarily do with tofu, which is more delicate.”

Most recently at Smorgasburg, Monk’s Meats offered a BBQ menu with jerk dishes, a bulgogi sandwich, a meatball sub with marinara sauce and cheesesteak with seitan pastrami.

“I think overall the biggest reaction we get is that people can’t believe with all the flavors and textures, that the stuff doesn’t have any meat in it,” Kim, 43, said.

After sharing their products at local restaurants, Brooklyn’s popular food vendor’s market and vegan pop-ups around the city, the company's first store will be 477 Gates Ave., near Marcy Avenue.

Monk’s Vegan Delicatessen and Kitchen is “inspired by traditional Brooklyn deli and butcher’s shops,” Kim said, and will offer a variety of prepared foods, smoked seitans and “vegan options you would expect to find in a meat shop,” like house-cured sausages and steaks.

The owners will also sell pickles, tofu and cheeses, which will be made on site.

Other offerings expected include burgers made from grains and oats, sandwiches and nut milks.

“We really love the diversity of this neighborhood and want to be a part of how it's changing,” Kim said, adding that he’s lived in Bed-Stuy for 20 years.

“We want to serve both old and new in the community.”

The shop takes over the former space of a 1,000-square-foot Chinese restaurant and will have a focus on delivery and pick-up, Kim said.

While the Gates Avenue store will not have sit-down space for diners, the owners look to open an eatery in the future. For now, Kim said, they’re looking for Monk's Meats to be a neighborhood butcher shop.

“This is a space where people can come to get their seitan steaks, sausages, salamis, and pick up supplies for the month,” he said.

Monk’s Vegan Delicatessen and Kitchen is expected to open by the end of spring.