Inside the Expansion of One of the Fastest Growing Faux Meat Companies in the Country

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Upton's Naturals, Chicago’s first and only retail seitan production company, opens three-in-one facility in West Town/Ukrainian Village.

2054 W Grand | Chicago, IL

...providing a product that makes it easier for people to transition off of meat is something we are very proud of.

Upton’s Naturals—a Chicago company specializing in a wheat-based meat alternative, seitan—has opened West Town’s very first 100 percent vegan establishment, housing their production facility, a top floor yoga studio, and Upton's Breakroom: a vegan cafe with a modest menu featuring the company’s seitan, soft serve ice cream, and pastries created in-house by Chicago-area native Kelly Peloza (author of The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur and the soon-to-be released Cheers to Vegan Sweets).

The new three story 9,000-thousand-square-foot, Modern building was designed by Chicago’s own award-winning architecture firm, UrbanLab (Martin Felsen and Sarah Dunn) and has been embellished with an installation conceptualized and painted by internationally renowned street artist, Gabriel Specter.

“Our aim is to create a unique space that is focused on clean, healthy living. One of the reasons we chose this location is because it is easily accessible by public transit. In fact, most of our employees walk, bike, or take public transit to work every single day,” said Daniel Staackmann, Founder and President of Upton’s Naturals.

Staackmann and partner Nicole Sopko, the company’s Vice President and certified yoga teacher, also live on the top floor of the building. The couple have been meat- and dairy-free for 20 and 16 years, respectively and noted that while the faux meat industry has grown tremendously since 2006—when their product first launched—they would be committed to their company and products regardless of popularity.

“In a way, this building is our form of activism for the animals, the environment, and consumer health. We love that as a result of opening this facility—in a city we love— we are able to employ others who are driven by compassion too. Plus, providing a product that makes it easier for people to transition off of meat is something we are very proud of,” said Sopko.

Upton’s Breakroom is open from 9:00AM to 9:00PM Monday through Friday, and yoga classes are expected to premiere later this fall.

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Nicole Sopko
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