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The pairing of a vegan restaurant next to a butcher’s shop has been described as the battle of ‘bacon .v. facon’ in local media reports.
One of the two Hearts Choices Cafe Market outlets and Master Meats are in North East Calgary – aka ‘Cowtown’ – an area often considered to be very meaty.
According to news reports, in the year since Hearts Choices opened, numerous ‘double-takes and funny photos’ have been seen.
Eahly Shirley, who co-owns Hearts Choices with his wife, Nan Thammanatr, told CBC: “It is quite funny. Sometimes it will be a couple and you’ll see them kind of split off and get their meat, and then afterwards, they’ll come [here] for lunch, which is pretty cool.”
The pair started selling vegetarian food in the city around seven years ago at Calgary Farmers’ Market. “People were telling us, ‘oh, you’re going to be vegetarian in Calgary? You’ll never make it’,” said Shirley.
The two businesses have said they are friends, with a mutual respect. Master Meats butcher John Wildenborg said: “If a butcher and a vegan cafe can get along, why can’t the rest of the world.”