Restaurant of the Week: Loving Hut

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Loving Hut, 175 N. Indian Hill Blvd. (at 2nd), Claremont

Loving Hut is a chain of vegan restaurants. There’s one in Upland (903 W. Foothill) and one opened this month in Claremont’s Village West. Each Loving Hut is united by its name and concept but each, interestingly enough, has its own menu.

Claremont’s location is next to Le Pain Quotidien and the Laemmle Theater facing the public plaza. I’m a proud meat eater but one open to vegetarian or vegan cooking. For a better test, though, I brought along a vegetarian friend.

The menu has veggie lasagna, penne pasta, fajitas, tacos, salads, pizza, sandwiches and smoothies. (For comparison’s sake, here’s Upland’s menu, which is indeed quite different: some fried items, a heavier Asian influence, cheaper beverages and more desserts.)

I had the Gardein burger ($12; photo at upper right), which puts a chicken-flavored soy patty on a wheat bun with tomato, lettuce, avocado, onion, pesto and spicy mayo, with a small salad on the side. My friend had the tacos diego ($12; photo at lower right), with beef-flavored soy strips in corn tortillas with lettuce and flour-based Daiya cheese, with beans, salsa and avocado on the side.

My sandwich wasn’t as dense as chicken but did taste similarly. (Of course, doesn’t everything taste like chicken?) My friend thought his tacos were fine if bland, and his beans were dry.

Because most of the beverages are $7 or $8, we stuck to water.

So, eating here is a bit more expensive, and whether it’s worth it is an individual decision. My friend’s opinion is that vegetarian options are fairly easy to come by anymore, usually for less than Loving Hut was charging. Still, Loving Hut is a nice alternative to almost every other restaurant in the Inland Valley.

Tableside service was pleasant and helpful and the dining room is mod-ish and comfortable in a fast-casual way. Surprisingly, days after its opening, a B grade from the Health Department appeared in the window. *(By Aug. 5 it was an A.)

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  • ML

    Vegetarian options may be easier to find, but with seemingly everything made with some form or dairy (or eggs), vegan options are still pretty rare. Some of us are very happy to see these kinds of places popping up. Native Foods and Veggie Grill are two others that I’d love to see come closer to the IE.

  • Kristin McConnell

    Off topic for this post: your article on Sammy Hagar was (expletive) cool! I really enjoyed him at the helm of Van Halen — they should have never let him go! That is neat about the Fontana connection. I love stuff like this! 🙂

    [Me too. — DA]

  • Bob Terry

    Lets do an off topic marathon. Okay, Mr. Ape Man (as in multiple ape movies), can you tell me the name of the first monkey sent into space by the United States? As a child of the 60’s, I still remember it to this day. And no, it wasn’t Mickey Dolenz.

    [I can’t tell you. Not because I’d have to kill you, but because I can’t remember. — DA]

  • shirley wofford

    On topic: That “B”, in the window, is a killer.

    Off topic: Bob, I don’t know the answer to your ape question. So, to add more, to the topic of apes: I saw a movie trailer today, previewing a movie, coming out soon, starring James Franco. It looks like it is expected to be a blockbuster. The name of it is “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”

  • shirley wofford

    More off topic on apes: Bob, I looked it up. I won’t spoil it for you here — but did you know the poor thing died on that flight?

  • shirley wofford

    Dave and Bob, Are you both staying silent, because you don’t want to point out to me that you already knew about the ape movie long before now? I saw your Aug. 2 column today. I probably would have passed it up, but the reviews look good–it gets in the mid-80’s on Rotten Tomatoes.

    [I wasn’t sure if you were trying to be sly or ironic or something by bringing it up before. Anyway, I saw the movie and liked it, and I also feel bad that most of the comments on this Loving Hut post aren’t about Loving Hut! — DA]

  • Jean-Guille

    Back on topic.

    I agree with ML; comparing a vegetarian restaurant to a vegan restaurant just isn’t accurate, and there is a dearth of vegan dining options.

    The prices you quoted are much higher than any other Loving Hut I’ve been to. The burger plates are typically around $6, and I have never paid $12 for any entree at a Loving Hut. Loving Hut Huntington Beach has daily specials that allow you to have a meal for two with an appetizer and come in around $20.

    Native Foods and Veggie Grill, as ML mentioned, are other comparable vegan places. Both chains are more expensive than Loving Hut, but even at those restaurants entrees are around $8-10.

    Loving Hut also distinguishes itself by being committed to the use of non-GMO soy products, which many folks will appreciate. I know I do. I am sure plenty of people out there in the IE will be happy to have a Loving Hut nearby.