Plant-based Brooklynites can rejoice—you can now enjoy vegan versions of traditional cold cuts thanks to Louie's Luncheonette. The all-vegan deli counter recently launched plant-based cold cuts available for pickup in Greenpoint or for delivery in the NYC metropolitan area with free shipping on orders over two pounds. National shipping to all 48 contiguous states and Washington D.C. is expected to launch later this year.

Louie Catizone, the shop’s namesake, is a first-generation Italian-American and set out to recreate Italian-American classics after craving the traditional sandwiches when he went full plant-based in 2016. “I grew up in Northern New Jersey in a household that made homemade prosciutto, sopressata, capicola. My nonnina used to have a curing room in her basement,” Caitzone said in an exclusive interview with The Beet.

He still struggles to explain his vegan choices to his family. “My father still doesn't fully accept it. He offers me meat every time I see him, even if there is no meat on the table. He doesn't entirely understand the decision, nor do most of my relatives from Italy or born here, but they respect it and have become increasingly easier going and accommodating,” he said, “I needed to defend my protein intake for years too. I’m healthier than ever and they know that so I have less explaining my nutrition these days.”

Catizone has three brothers who are all within five years of each other. “Cold cuts were an easy way to feed us for my parents - it was just an everyday part of our diets, our culture,” he said. Catizone was nostalgic for the flavors of his childhood and started to experiment with recreating vegan versions of cold cuts at home. “I began testing out some things at home and once they were good enough to share, I began jokingly making sandwiches for friends and family calling them "Louie's Luncheonette" sandwiches,” he says.

Soon his vegan cold cuts had a cult-like underground fan base and he knew he had to offer them to a wider audience. To test out his product Catizone had a pop-up sandwich shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn this summer. The menu sold out within hours and he knew he had created something in demand. He wanted to ensure that everyone could get in on the cruelty-free goodness.

Louie’s Luncheonette is now offering up four plant-based, hand-made, ready-to-eat cold cuts including vegan ham, turkey, pepperoni, and BBQ chicken that are sure to satisfy vegans and meat-eaters alike. The meats can be enjoyed as-is or cooked. “The ham is amazing with avocado for breakfast, the BBQ chicken is great with cabbage and jalapeno and the turkey works with almost any combo. But beyond sandwiches, they can work in pasta salads or grain bowls,” Caitzone recommends.

These alternative hand-cut vegan deli meats stack up to their more-traditional counterparts. They’re made up of non-GMO, nitrate-free, preservative-free all-natural ingredients including vital wheat gluten and chickpea flour mixed with high-quality herbs and spices to create a flavor that’s even better than their traditional meat counterparts and a product that boasts more nutritional value. Louie’s Luncheonette cold cuts offer 13 grams of protein per serving which is higher than conventional cold cuts. They’re also significantly lower in sodium making them a truly healthier alternative.

“The beginning of my plant-based journey was rooted in environmental activism and an interest in not adding to the problem, but being part of the solution,” Catizone said. His dedication to living a less harmful life goes beyond a vegan diet and includes reducing waste where possible. As environmentalism is important to Louie’s Luncheonette the delivered vegan meats arrive direct-to-consumers in a sustainable package consisting of compostable vacuum-sealed bags and stickers, reusable drain safe ice packs, and recycled paper products.