Kevin Hart Just Opened a Vegan Fast-Food Restaurant in LA—But Is It Healthy?
Actor and comedian Kevin Hart might have changed the way we think of the fast-food industry with the launch of a new vegan fast food restaurant, Hart House. The restaurant's first location opened in Los Angeles last week and offers plant-based alternatives for your favorite fast-food meals—think crispy "chicken" sandwiches, cheeseburgers, fries and milkshakes galore.
"We've curated delicious, craveable food you know and love like burgers, shakes, nuggets and more," said Hart House CEO Andy Hooper in a release. "Our menu is the future of the industry; Hart House is revolutionizing quick service restaurants now and delivering a ground-breaking culinary experience that shatters the expectations of what plant-based food can be."
While the food is plant-focused and mainly vegan-friendly, is it healthy? We break down the nutrition information for Hart House versions of popular fast-food items to answer that question.
Hart House: Is It Healthy?
We chose to focus on these four menu items: the Single Burg'r, the Crispy Chick'n sandwich, the Kale Crunch salad and the chocolate milkshake.
The Single Burg'r
The Single Burg'r includes the restaurant's signature plant-based patty with lettuce, tomato, onion and the Hart House Signature Sauce. You can get the burger with or without their plant-based American "cheese," and you can make it a double, which adds another patty.
Here's the nutritional information for a Single Burg'r with no cheese:
- 542 calories
- 33 grams total fat
- 14 grams saturated fat
- 3.5 grams sugar
- 774 milligrams sodium
- 44 grams carbohydrates
- 16 grams protein
While the full ingredients list is not yet available, they do note that the Burg'r patty contains soy and tree nuts, which is an important consideration for those with allergies. The sandwich is high in calories and sodium, according to our recommended nutrition parameters, and also exceeds the American Heart Association's recommendations of no more than 13 grams of saturated fat a day. This is likely due to the coconut fat used in the patty and the "cheese." While this choice skips the typical red meat, cheese and other hard-on-your-heart animal products, its high counts of sodium and saturated fat might not make it the best option to regularly consume in a heart-healthy eating pattern.
The Crispy Chick'n Sandwich
Hart House also has the newest chicken sandwich competitor, but they're holding the chicken. Made with breaded pea protein, the Crispy Chick'n is topped with plant-based mayo and pickles. The deluxe version of the sandwich adds vegan honey mustard and kale crunch slaw, and you can turn up the heat by ordering it hot and crispy: the Chick'n is coated in the Hart Hot Sauce.
If you order the regular Crispy Chick'n sandwich, you're looking at:
- 638 calories
- 30 grams total fat
- 4.5 grams saturated fat
- 12 grams sugar
- 1,510 milligrams sodium
- 67 grams carbohydrates
- 25 grams protein
While the Crispy Chick'n sandwich has less saturated fat and more protein than the Single Burg'r, there's significantly more calories, carbs, sodium and sugar. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults should limit their sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams or less per day. This sandwich contains about 65% of that daily sodium maximum. Consuming too much sodium is a major contributor to high blood pressure, so it's best to enjoy this sandwich on occasion rather than making it part of your daily routine.
The Kale Crunch Salad
The up-and-coming plant-based chain is not all burgers and fries; there are also a couple of salads on the Hart House menu. Aside from the classic Caesar salad, which opts for Parmesan-style shredded cheese, the Kale Crunch salad could be their colorful creation to compete against the Chick-fil-A salad with the same name. The salad is a mix of baby kale, carrots, Brussels sprouts, red and napa cabbage and radicchio, and is topped with a blood orange vinaigrette.
While you can get the salad as a side, here's the nutritional breakdown for a Kale Crunch entree salad:
- 227 calories
- 20 grams total fat
- 3 grams saturated fat
- 3 grams sugar
- 314 milligrams sodium
- 7 grams carbohydrates
- 16 grams protein
This salad is low in calories, saturated fat, sugar, sodium and carbs and is high in protein, making it a great option for lunch or dinner. The low-calorie salad can keep it tasting light and refreshing while its 16 grams of protein help fill you up. Plant-based entrees like this can help you reap protein's many benefits, like promoting muscle growth and supporting healthy immune function.
The Chocolate Milkshake
When it comes to any fast-food menu, it's OK to treat yourself. Flexibility is a big part of what makes a healthy eating pattern sustainable. Sometimes you might just want a chocolate milkshake, and we know pairing it with a side of fries makes for a delicious combination. Alongside the classic chocolate and vanilla flavors, Hart House also offers strawberry and Oreo milkshakes, all of which are noted as plant-based options.
One regular 12-ounce chocolate milkshake at Hart House provides:
- 478 calories
- 15 grams total fat
- 12 grams saturated fat
- 64 grams sugar
- 247 milligrams sodium
- 81 grams carbohydrates
- 5 grams protein
As a dessert, the milkshake is high in calories, but low in sodium, according to our recommended nutrition parameters. However, 64 grams of sugar is over 250% of the maximum recommended daily intake. While it is OK for an occasional treat, consistently eating too much added sugar can increase your levels of inflammation and risk for several chronic diseases.
The Bottom Line
When reading the Hart House menu, trust us: our mouths are watering. And while the Kale Crunch salad was a healthy surprise, a lot of your favorite fast-food staples should be enjoyed in moderation, and that includes Kevin Hart's spin on them. The plant-based burgers or chicken sandwich as well as the milkshake may not be great options for your daily routine, but they can still be enjoyed as a special treat if you're in the area. Hart House is set to open more locations across the country, and you can view the rest of their complete menu and nutrition guide before it comes to you.