On July 8, Maciel’s Plant-Based Butcher & Deli is opening in LA’s Highland Park neighborhood, becoming the city’s first-ever plant-based butcher shop, reports Eater LA. Offering a rich, Mexican-influenced menu, Maciel’s will serve a variety of scratch-made animal-free meats, cheeses, and sandwiches.
A neighborhood butcher-deli
Maciel’s was created by Maciel Bañales Luna, spouse Joe Egender and business partner Dustin Lancaster. The concept was inspired by Bañales Luna, a Mexican native who worked as a nutrition researcher and experimented with plant-based meats at home. According to the founders, Maciel’s aims to offer the same comfort and familiarity as a traditional corner deli.
“We see it as a neighborhood butcher-deli,” said Egender. “You come and get your weekly meats, but also grab some sandwiches and aguas frescas, and hang out a little bit or take it home. We see moms and dads buying slices of turkey for their kids to make school lunches.”
Health and flavor
Maciel’s menu features an extensive selection of proteins crafted from legumes, vegetables, seitan and brines, including pastrami, Mexican ribs, bacon, chicharrones, turkey and chorizo. Cheeses include dairy-free queso, Camembert and jalapeno cheddar. Customers can order proteins alone, or choose from gourmet sandwiches such as The Breakfast (Plant-based eggs, ham, cheddar) to The Flores (Mexican ribs, pickled onions, mayo) or a classic Reuben (Pastrami, sauerkraut, provolone).
Specialty favorites like agua frescas, house-made salsas and Mexican chocolate mousse are also on offer. “We focus on four things when making the meats: the taste — that is the most important thing, of course, the look, the texture, and the health,” notes Bañales Luna.
Catering to community
To welcome all community members, the shop’s menus are printed in English and Spanish, and the owners intend to hire fully bilingual front-of-house staff. Above all, Maciel’s hopes to satisfy meat-lovers with indulgent flavors and textures. The couple says they gathered highly positive feedback while taste-testing the menu prior to the opening.
“It was a good feeling when meat-eaters were like, ‘I wouldn’t know the difference’ or ‘this is amazing,’” shares Egender. “That was really gratifying because that’s been our main push this whole time, to cater to the community as a whole.”