A Vegan Butcher Shop Attracts A Crowd

The Monk’s Meats Venue at Afropunk.

Monk’s Meats is a vegan butcher shop that specializes in plant-based meats and delicacies. The Brooklyn-based eatery, which first opened in 2012, has been able to create an entirely vegan menu without sacrificing taste. The brains behind the operation are an unstoppable duo: Chris Kim and Rebecca Lopez-Howes. Before going into the food industry, Kim worked as a lawyer. His passion for finding a healthier lifestyle resulted in changing his diet and becoming vegan in his late 20’s.

“It was more of my personal journey and finding my spirituality that led to starting Monk’s. As an environmentalist, my understanding of raising animals to be slaughtered and respecting their life as a carnivore was not a sound practice.”

We met up with the plant butchers on Sunday, August 27th, at Afropunk Music Festival in Commodore Barry Park.

They’ve been serving people at Afropunk Brooklyn- a music festival celebrating food, music, culture, and fashion- for the past three years.

Chris Kim talks about his “untraditional” kitchen.
Their wheat-based protein products as well as the sultry Caribbean inspired flavors have become extremely popular. Growing up in an Asian community in the United States, Kim borrowed his grandmother’s recipe’s and applied certain techniques from them to his own. “I like to think of what we serve as something connected to my culinary past to make seitan more interesting,” Kim told us.
Chris and his partner Rebecca in their element.
“We make seitan, which is less familiar to most Americans than, say, tofu,” Kim told us. “Seitan is made from wheat. And tofu is made from soy. Growing up, I was very familiar with tofu because I grew up in an Asian household. When I learned about it, I realized that it was very versatile, and has a lot of protein. It’s lean, so it’s really good because of that.”

From April-October, you can find Monk’s at Smorgasburg in Williamsburg on Saturdays from 11am-6pm, and at Smorgasburg in Prospect Park on Sundays from 11am-6pm. They also do pop-up shops every 2nd Saturday of the month in Brooklyn, and every 4th Saturday of the month in Manhattan.