Kevin Hart’s endless list of entertainment and business ventures will move into the fast-food space this summer – with a plant-based restaurant that will grow roots in California.
The comedian and actor’s new restaurants is called Hart House, and the first two locations will open in Los Angeles and Hollywood. The restaurant hired former Burger King culinary chef Michael Salem to develop the menu over the last two years, Los Angeles Magazine reported Thursday.
Hart, 42, has shifted to a plant-based diet in recent years and started promoting the lifestyle more openly during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, he had recently been through physical rehabilitation for serious injuries he suffered in a grisly car crash in Los Angeles in 2019. During an appearance on “The Joe Rogan Experience,” Hart talked about embracing plant-based foods and encouraged others to challenge their misconceptions.
“Just because you make the decision to go and try plant-based, doesn’t mean you have to [be engulfed] in that world,” Hart told Rogan. “Learn it, understand it, and see if there are benefits that work for you.”
Hart said he’s removed red meat, fish and other seafood from his diet, but still sometimes has chicken. He identifies as a “plant-based eater,” rather than a vegan.
“Kevin sort of conceptualized this idea at the beginning of the pandemic,” Hart House CEO Andy Hooper told L.A. Mag, which got a private tasting of the menu. “If I were advising him at the time, I would say, ‘Don’t you dare ever start a restaurant, and don’t you ever start a restaurant in the middle of COVID,’ but after almost two years of really working on this menu and getting the food to a place where it can deliver on that promise, we’re ready to go and we’re excited to tell the world about Hart House and excited to serve the food.”
Hooper said that the restaurant will feature 100% plant-based burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, nuggets, milkshakes and sides.
The menu was developed to make food that would be just as “craveable” as conventional fast-food items, except better for you. Salem explained that he didn’t want to lose sight of what makes carnivores appreciate food – and ensure that those flavors make it into Hart House’s menu.
Whether and how soon the Hart House concept will expand beyond California remains to be seen, but it’s probably not a stretch to think Hart would have his eyes on a location in his hometown of Philadelphia at some point in the future.