The actor wants to attract regular plant-based eaters along with those who are yet to be introduced to the world of vegan food.
LOS ANGELES — Kevin Hart already has a thriving comedy and acting career, and now he’s looking to kick people’s bellies.
The popular actor-comedian opens his first plant-based fast food restaurant. Hart House Thursday in the Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles near the city’s airport. He wants the new venture to appeal to regular plant-based eaters as well as those who have yet to be introduced to the world of healthy eating.
“Our business is in the feel-good business. That’s what Kevin Hart is all about,” he said in an interview before the restaurant’s official opening, which got off to a strong start with long lines of customers throughout the day. Sitting with his wife Eniko Hart, the actor scarfed down a plant-based crispy chicken sandwich, chicken nuggets and tots.
Rapper Lil Baby previewed the to-order menu from an entirely plant-based menu that includes burgers, salads, fries, iced tea and a lime. The restaurant’s milkshakes are made with a mixture of oats and soy.
“I say this all the time: ‘Live, love, laugh,'” Hart continued. “Here, we say ‘eat your heart out.’ People are curious about plant-based food. It’s something I eat. It’s really good. When you look at other restaurants, Harthouse is just as good and maybe even better in some cases. Is.”
Hart felt the need to create a healthy space within the fast food spectrum that was affordable for consumers. There are several other plant-based, fast food options throughout Los Angeles, but Harthouse’s approach is to serve quality food with sandwiches and burgers that are within the $5-$7 price range — lower than competitors.
“That’s a big priority for us,” Hart said. “We want to create an environment where people feel good.”
In building Heart House, the comedian teamed up with restaurateur Andy Hooper, chef Mike Salem and businessman Michael Rubin, who was an investor.
Salem, who developed Harthouse’s menu options, was head of culinary innovation at Burger King where he helped launch the Impossible Whopper.
“One of the good things about our leadership is that the majority of us are carnivores,” he said. “But we wanted to create this plant-based concept and bring Kevin’s vision to light. We wanted to keep it simple. It’s just plain classic American comfort food.”
Along with its flagship location, Hart wants to open six more Hart House restaurants by the end of the year. It already has two locations under construction in Los Angeles, including one in the Hollywood area.
“We’re open-minded,” he said. “This is a new generation and a new way of thinking when it comes to food consumption. These are early stages for us. We will continue to improve with time.”
It’s been a busy week for Hart, whose latest film, “Me Time” with Mark Wahlberg and Regina Hall, was released on Netflix on Friday.