Actor Kevin Hart’s first plant-based fast-food restaurant will be up and running this Thursday in Westchester. Located at 8901 S. Sepulveda Boulevard, Hart House is less than a four-minute walk away from the LAX-adjacent location of In-N-Out-Burger, which is always impossibly busy. Last week, Hart broke the news in an exclusive interview with Eater LA that Hart House currently has two locations under construction, several signed leases, and is on target to open up to 10 Hart Houses over the next year.
Hart isn’t the first celebrity — or the last — to open a restaurant in Los Angeles. But he might be the first to open a vegan fast-food restaurant. Though not a full vegetarian — Hart openly says he takes a flexible approach that works for him, with no red meat or dairy — he started looking at the plant-based way of eating as a lifestyle. But he also wondered about accessibility for those who can’t afford to dine out at most vegetarian restaurants.
“We wanted a price that doesn’t turn customers away,” says Hart. “It was extremely important to us from the beginning to make [affordability] a massive priority.”
Hart then recruited restaurateur Andy Hooper and chef Mike Salem with the goal of keeping the prices low and menu appealing. Salem is the former head of culinary Innovation at Burger King, where he helped launch the Impossible Whopper; he developed all of the Hart House menu items, which he describes as “straightforward.”
At Hart House, burgers are available, but so is a crispy chick’n sandwich with mayo and pickles, which can also be dipped in chile oil to spice things up. There are also crispy chick’n nuggets with dipping options like creamy ranch, barbecue, and buffalo sauces. Additionally, the menu offers salads, french fries, tots, iced teas and limeade, and a stunningly similar-to-the-real-thing item: a milk shake made from an oat-and-soy blend.
Hooper shared that the second location will open in Hollywood on the southwest corner of Highland Avenue and Sunset Boulevard in a former McDonald’s. That central spot will be Hart House’s flagship and drive-thru location, directly across from Hollywood High School and Chick-fil-A, and one block away from Hollywood’s own In-N-Out. It’s quite a strategy given the constant traffic and famous streets, but this time a plant-based restaurant will anchor the corner lot.
Los Angeles has exploded with plant-based fast food options over recent years with the growth of restaurants like Monty’s Good Burger, Plant Power Fast Food, Veggie Grill, and Mr. Charlie’s. Though Hart House is similar to Monty’s and Plant Power, the standout is the price. Hart House sandwiches and burgers are in the $5 to $7 price range.
Hart draws a parallel between his venture to his acting and comedy career. “For me, it’s about getting the customers that aren’t necessarily your target or your demographic,” says Hart. “You’re trying to appeal to all. [Hart House] is plant-based, but it’s really good. How can we get everybody to say ‘I want Hart House today.’ That’s something I’ve been able to do in my career. I’ve been able to travel the globe and do my job at a very high level by appealing to everyone. So for Hart House, I want [it] to match the world of me and what I’ve done, and have that same global appeal as we grow and as we go.”
Hart House will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.