The local fast-casual chain Stalk & Spade, with locations in the North Loop, Edina and Wayzata, abruptly shut down, citing the "unpredictable landscape of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives industry" for the closure.
"We started Stalk & Spade with a mission to provide delicious plant based foods that were familiar favorites you could feel great about eating," the company said in a statement, adding that the decision to close the business was a difficult one.
In Steel Brands' statement to the Star Tribune, it explained, in part, "The decision to close was a difficult one and was driven by multiple factors, including ongoing supply chain challenges and the nationwide decline in demand for plant-based meat and dairy alternatives."
Fans lamented the loss on social media: "So sad not to give your supporters some notice so that we could visit one last time" and "I wanted to thank you though for the years of being one of the few safe places my severely dairy allergic son could eat safely" were among the comments on Facebook; Stalk & Spade's Instagram account turned off commenting.
Founded by former fitness entrepreneur Steele Smiley in April 2021, Stalk & Spade was a foray into the fast-growing field of meat and dairy alternatives. The restaurants served vegan takes on burgers, fried chick'n sandwiches and milkshakes, including a dairy-free twist on an Orange Julius. The business aimed to lure in omnivores alongside vegans with quick alternatives to fast food that touted themselves as healthy alternatives.
Stalk & Spade was only one branch of Smiley's Steele Enterprises' holdings of quick-serve restaurants. Puralima (rebranded from Paco & Lime) launched this summer, and the Crisp & Green chain started in 2016 and now has 16 Minnesota locations — with more on the way — and a presence in 15 states.