The last time we saw Kevin Hart grabbing fast food, it was a few years back at chili-burger joint Carney's on Sunset. Now the "Ride Along" actor is offering his own meat-free alternative to the typical quick cuisine: He calls it “plant-based for the people."
The first Hart House location opened Thursday in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Westchester, a short walk from the In-N-Out by LAX. Video posted on Hart's Instagram Stories showed what looked like hundreds of people lined up waiting to order from a menu featuring sandwiches in the $5-$7 range.
“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.”
Hart House is currently building out two other stores, with Hart House Chief Executive Andy Hooper telling Eater LA that one of them will be the chain's future flagship location at Sunset and Highland, just south of where the Oscars are held each year. That one reportedly will have a drive-through, and it's also a short walk from the In-N-Out in Hollywood.
"This is an absolute dream come true….Los Angeles please come out and give our amazing food a try….I promise we will not disappoint!!!!! I can’t wait to hear ur thoughts on all of our amazing food items," the 43-year-old comic wrote Wednesday on Instagram, a day before the Westchester location opened.
Hart — whose larger plan is to open 10 restaurants in the next 12 months — partnered with restaurateur Hooper and chef Mike Salem, who helped launch the plant-based Impossible Whopper at Burger King.
Salem developed everything on Hart House's plant-based menu, from the Turn Up the Heat spicy chick'n sandwich with Hart Hot Sauce to the Kale Crunch Side Salad in a cup to the single and double burg'rs with American cheese and Hart House Signature Sauce, which appears to be in the neighborhood of Thousand Island dressing and Heinz Mayochup, give or take the chopped-up pickles.
There are also tater tots, full-size salads, plant-based shakes and other soft drinks with nary a bit of carbonation. As one TikTok user who got early access to Hart House said, "He has a hit on his hands."
“For me, it’s about getting the customers that aren’t necessarily your target or your demographic,” Hart told Eater LA. “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."
By the way, those decadent chili burgers mentioned earlier seem to fit into Hart's diet just as well as his plant-based chick'n and burg'rs. He is "flexitarian," after all.
Those who can't make it out to Westchester, meanwhile, can get a fresh serving of Hart on Netflix, where the actor's raunchy new comedy, "Me Time," co-starring Regina Hall and Wahlburgers co-owner Mark Wahlberg, is now streaming.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.