Kevin Hart’s vegan fast food restaurant joins the plant-based food scene – Daily Breeze

The list of celebrity restaurants that have opened (and closed) over the years is long. A brief list would include: Nyla (Britney Spears), Fashion Café (a platoon of models), Madre’s (Jennifer Lopez), Dive! (Steven Spielberg), Beso and She (Eva Longoria), Lario’s on the Beach (Gloria Estefan), Lobster Barrel by Alan Hale, Cugie’s by Xavier Cugat, and Mickey’s Weenie World and Mickey’s Potato Fantasy (Mickey Rooney).

And that’s just to start!

The only celebrity-owned restaurant that came close to success was Kenny Rogers’ Roasters, which no longer exists in the United States but can still be found throughout Southeast Asia.

And now, to this culinary patchwork, let’s add the latest celebrity to bet the power of his name on a restaurant: comedian and actor Kevin Hart’s vegan fast food restaurant. Hart House — the first of which opened just north of LAX, not far from a wildly popular In-N-Out Burger, where the line of cars never seems to stop.

At Hart House the line is much shorter. And indeed, you don’t order from your car, you have to park and walk in – which is such a retro notion for a restaurant that loudly proclaims that this is the future of food.

The folks behind Hart House optimistically said the location was the first of 10 they hope to open, with two more under construction in Hollywood.

Hart himself says his diet is “mostly plant-based,” suggesting plenty of wiggle room. He’s an investor in Beyond Meat. And as a spokesperson for his kitchen, he’s as relentless as his credit card commercials that seem to be on TV 24/7. He added to the commotion, saying, “Just because you make the decision to go try herbal doesn’t mean you have to. [be engulfed] in this world. Learn it, understand it, and see if there are any benefits that work for you.

The Hart House website tells us that it is “committed to the future of food and our overall well-being. We have a simple mission: to make the foods you know and love better for you, your wallet and the planet. »

The restaurant’s promise is: “No cholesterol, no antibiotics, no hormones, no artificial colors, no preservatives, no corn syrup, no trans fats. To which he added, “As someone who preached ‘Health is Wealth’, building Hart House felt like the natural evolution of my flexitarian lifestyle and business ecosystem. I’m beyond proud of this…delicious, sustainable, industry-changing food that delivers “unbelievable” flavor in every bite.

The restaurant’s small printed menu and walls are filled with encouraging aphorisms, making Hart House a fast-food restaurant…and a house of culinary worship. We learn that food, “Rather than being about ‘anyone’…it’s for ‘everyone’!” “It’s not just fast food, but food that takes us faster into the future.” “This is the change you’ve been dreaming of.” It’s half meal, half cheerleading session.

  • Actor and comedian Kevin Hart, center, wearing a red hat, poses with staff at his plant-based fast food restaurant, Hart House, which has locations in Monrovia and Westchester. Other restaurants in the Los Angeles area are in the works. (Photo courtesy of Hart House)

  • Hart House serves plant-based alternatives to popular fast food meals, including...

    Hart House serves plant-based alternatives to popular fast food meals, including crispy chicken sandwiches and burgers. (Photo by Merrill Shindler)

And, I wish the food lived up to the rah-rah attitude. But as far as I can tell, this is a generic burger and fries, crispy toddlers and chicken nuggets restaurant. Based on the crowd, it’s the In-N-Out down the street that’s “for everyone!”

That said, there’s nothing wrong with the food at Hart House – except that the usually bland, plant-based burgers and chicken nuggets really need one of six dippin’ sauces to give them extra kick. flavor. (The Hunny Mustard and Sweet Heat were especially helpful!)

These are plant-based burgers and chicken that are pretty much like the plant-based burgers and chicken I’ve tasted elsewhere in recent years. (And for the record, it’s “chick’n” and “burg’r”!) There’s also a Caesar salad with “parmesan-style” cheese and a Kale Crunch salad with nothing but vegetables.

Which brings me to my ongoing gripe with the world of “plant-based” cooking. I like vegetables. I grew up eating vegetables. Most often, I eat vegetables at home, and this is the rare restaurant meal where I don’t order a vegetable. Vegetables are our friends. I was a hidden vegetarian (or at least flexitarian) long before it became fashionable. Always have been, always will be.

I don’t understand the concept of vegetables dressed for Halloween as if they were meat. If I want a vegetable meal, I order vegetables. Recognizable vegetables. Look, there’s broccoli! And over there, Brussels sprouts! Vegetables are a good thing. Vegetables pretending to be chicken or beef? Why?

Hart House is a noble notion. There are good thoughts and good wishes behind it. He may yet become the next big thing. But after my lunch at Hart House, I walked across the street to Ralphs and bought bags of vegetables. I had them for dinner. I didn’t pretend it was a steak.

Merrill Shindler is a freelance food critic based in Los Angeles. Email [email protected]

Hart House

  • Evaluation: 2 stars
  • Address: 8901 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester (also at 602 W. Huntington Drive, Monrovia; coming to Hollywood soon)
  • Information: 213-320-5900,
  • Kitchen: Vegan fast food
  • When: Lunch and dinner, daily
  • Details: Soft drink; order at the counter
  • Atmosphere: The first of what is hoped to be a chain of vegan fast food restaurants, led by actor Kevin Hart, featuring a modern dining room with plenty of warnings to change the way we eat – “Planted-based for the people” .
  • Prices: About $15 per person
  • On the menu: 6 burgers and sandwiches ($5.99 – $7.99), 6 meals ($10.49 – $12.49), nuggets ($4.99 – $12.49), two salads ($2.99 – $6.99), 3 sides ($2.49 – $2.99), 6 dips (no charge)
  • Credit card: CM, V
  • What do the stars mean: 4 (World class! Worth the trip from anywhere!), 3 (Most excellent, if not outstanding. Worth the trip from anywhere in Southern California.), 2 (A great place to go for a meal. Worth the trip from anywhere in the neighborhood.) 1 (If you’re hungry and it’s nearby, but don’t get stuck in traffic.) 0 (Honestly not worth it describe.)

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