The Southern California food scene is no stranger to the plant-based restaurant craze. With Flower Burger’s colorful buns, Monty’s Good Burger’s pop-up collaboration with singer Role Model, and Mr.Charlie’s TikTok trendy take on McDonald’s, it seems that celebrities and entrepreneurs alike have united to make going vegan go viral. But in 2022, Kevin Hart founded Hart House, a plant-based fast-food restaurant of his own, with aspirations reaching further than trends and instead aiming to make a long-lasting impact on its local and global community.
Hart House’s mission is simple: “to make the food you know and love—better for you, your wallet, and the planet.” In doing so, Hart disrupted the idea of just how much a fast-food restaurant can do. He revolutionizes the quick-service industry by providing healthier food that is affordable, delicious, and better for the planet. Moreover, he transformed his “flexitarian” diet into a culinary experience accessible to all.
The new vegan fast-food restaurant offers a menu filled with familiar items. From the Signature Burg’r to the Deluxe Crispy Chik’n Sandwich, the menu features classic quick-service cuisine made from the heart, that’s better for yours. Hart House provides 100 percent plant-based food with no added cholesterol, antibiotics, hormones, artificial colors, preservatives, corn syrup, or trans-fat, all served with a smile and a side of fries.
“It’s one thing when you hear someone’s idea and you get excited about working with a celebrity,” Hart House Chef Michael Salem told Vegconomist. “It’s another thing when you hear about somebody’s idea and it actually really resonates with your life’s work, and that’s what happened to me.”
Not only is Hart House committed to the health of those who dine in or take out, but it also cultivates a sustainable environment in its communities. Employees receive living wages and benefits that transcend industry standard, the company lowers its environmental impact by responsibly sourcing ingredients and using less energy in their operations, and Hart House donated 10 percent of their opening proceeds to Inner City Arts. On December 19, 2022, Hart House even gave back 100 percent of its sales to local charities for the Holiday Give Back campaign.
The company’s legacy, expansion, and goal to go global would not be possible without the work of Director of Development Adam Krueger. There, he oversees a large construction management group tasked to sustainably build and acquire its new locations. After all, a company whose mission is to impact the Earth positively seeks to build its locations the same.
Hart House’s Westchester location features vibrant colors, a neon sign, and sleek tiles curated with the help of Kai Williamson’s design team, which is made up entirely of women of color. At the center of it all is a dynamic mural by Nicolette Santos that reads “Change You’ll Crave” for everyone to see.
Since its debut brick-and-mortar operation opened its doors in August 2022, Hart House has expanded to another location in the Los Angeles area and is building its third. Krueger reminds us that the vision is far from over and that this is only the beginning stage of the company. By the end of its first year, it’s possible that Hart House will have as many as ten locations.
“As someone who has been preaching ‘Health is Wealth,’ building Hart House felt like the natural evolution of my flexitarian lifestyle and my business ecosystem,” Hart said in a press release. “I’m beyond proud of this industry-changing restaurant and the amazing team behind it working tirelessly to create delicious, sustainable food that delivers ‘Can’t-Believe-It’ flavor in every bite.”