I’m constantly asked if I’m vegan. While the reason why continues to elude me (maybe it’s my Birkenstocks tan or affinity for Cinnaholic), I always respond the same: “um, ABSOLUTELY not.” As one raised in a traditional Italian home, food is the center of the universe. From fresh cheese tortellini to tender ossobucco, meat and cheese are the foundation of many comfort foods I’ve eaten all my life. However, after my sister turned vegan I was constantly forced to try interesting foods, such as seitan (hard pass) and almond milk cream cheese (decent, try Kite Hill’s version). It wasn’t until I tried the Butcher’s Son here in Downtown Berkeley that I finally overcome my fear of vegan food.
Somehow, by the power vested in the perfectly tatted and effortlessly hipster chefs you can find not only vegan cheesecakes, cookies, cannolis (!!!), but also fried chicken, steak hoagies and fried mozzarella sticks. This spot has a stamp of approval not only from vegans and veggie lovers, but also meat lovers alike. Even my younger sister, who has never touched tofu in her life, raced to finish her fried buffalo sauced soaked mozzarella sticks.
Here’s what to order:
Drinks: The fresh orange juice is amazing. If you’re in the brunch mood, definitely pick up one of their fresh mimosas (made with prosecco!).
Breakfast: The Level 8 Vegan
The only way to make a breakfast better? Add fried chicken to it. This open-faced bagel sandwich is stacked high with cream cheese, fried chicken, bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato. Despite its overwhelming size, you’ll find yourself easily wanting to take another bite!
Lunch: The Fried Mozzarella and Meatball sandwich
This sandwich is the vegan lovechild of mozzarella sticks and a meatball sub. And if that isn’t enough to convince you, then I really don’t know what is. Covered in a house made marinara, topped with meatballs, fried mozzarella, grilled peppers, grilled onions and mushrooms, this lunchtime special is definitely the one to order!
Dessert: 100 percent: the cannoli. Try to get there early, though! They run out really quickly. Also, the salted chocolate chip cookies are insane.
If you’re up for the adventure, definitely check this spot out (in person or here, on Instagram). Nearly always packed with people, The Butcher’s Son is well worth the trek Downtown and may even lead you to think about meat (even if it’s fake!) in a whole new way.