A family-based business with an aim to bridge the gap between vegans and nonvegans, The Butcher’s Son continues to serve nostalgic comfort food to its customers amid COVID-19 regulations.
Brother-sister duo Peter Fikaris and Christina Stobing opened The Butcher’s Son in February 2016 on University Avenue. The two siblings grew up in the restaurant business working at their father’s diner, Michael’s American Vegetarian Diner.
The restaurant’s name describes the modern son of a butcher who, despite cravings of the foods he grew up with, attempts to live a more sustainable lifestyle. The Butcher’s Son strives to help its customers make better choices for the planet and personal health through an all-vegan menu.
My brother “and I both went vegan a while ago and realized that we can get all the same stuff we wanted to get, vegan,” Stobing said. “So we just decided to just go and do it ourselves.”
By serving vegan versions of items such as cheeseburgers and turkey sandwiches, the restaurant offers people the familiarity of what they grew up eating, while having a minimal environmental impact.
Initially, Stobing described COVID-19 as a “difficult transition” that has slowed business by about 50%. With new health precautions, the business prioritized the safety of its employees and switched to a fully to-go service.
“Now that outdoor dining has opened up, people are able to sit out there, so that’s been really nice,” Stobing said. “With this slowdown, we’ve had more opportunity to experiment and try things out.”
Midpandemic, April 24, the business also opened its sister restaurant, The King’s Feet. While The Butcher’s Son caters to brunch and lunch, The King’s Feet provides vegan Italian options for dinner.
When faced with the option of either opening during a pandemic or letting the project go, Stobing and Fikaris decided to face the challenges.
“The King’s Feet is really an indoor dining space, so that’s really been learning day by day and adjusting day by day, figuring out how to reopen as an indoor dining restaurant in a to-go world,” Stobing said.
The King’s Feet has adjusted to the to-go model by taking items off the menu that were not made to sit around for a long time, such as the handmade spaghetti and meatballs.
Customer Nick Squires, who has dined at various vegan restaurants across five countries, described The Butcher’s Son as “the best vegan restaurant.”
“In the dozens of times we have been back, we have nailed down our favourite items on the menu, though (especially since they changed their burgers) there are really no bad options here,” Squires said in an email.
The business is currently accepting online orders for menu items and in-store purchases from its market.