Taste Test: Loving Hut

The name Loving Hut may not ring a bell for most Gwinnettians. In fact, to most, it’s a quaint-looking hole in the wall just off Holcombe Bridge Road in Peachtree Corners. But in reality, it’s so much more than that. Loving Hut is an international franchise on a mission to spread love and peace to communities worldwide through delicious vegan food. With over 200 locations in 35 different countries, they’ve got the “worldwide” part down.

Although it’s a franchise, no two locations have identical menus. Most Loving Huts, including the one in Gwinnett, are intentional about curating a menu that meets the needs of the local and regional communities they’re based in. Tammy Chiu, a passionate employee, explains that their menu changes at least three times a year to include customer requests and different international dishes.

The only thing about their menu that doesn’t change is that every dish is vegan. The franchise is dedicated to a greater mission that goes beyond just serving healthy and hearty fare. They view veganism as a means to a happier, healthier world and do their part by offering recipes and education for those curious about switching to a vegan or plant-based diet.

“There are no secrets!” says Tammy. “I will share any of my recipes with anyone who asks.”

As they put it, going vegan, or even opting for vegan just a few times a week, is a way to put yourself and the environment first all at once. But they don’t stop there; Tammy has graciously given away hundreds, if not thousands, of vegan products and dishes to local charities supporting low income seniors and at monthly events hosted by the restaurant.

“About half of all the dishes we serve have been given away for free,” says Tammy. “Helping the world and the community is the most important thing to me.”

There’s a true vegan revolution brewing under the Loving Hut roof. By complete happenstance, the restaurant has acquired a team of all vegans. And if that’s not a testament to their dedication, regulars have rave reviews about the food and support they’ve discovered at Loving Hut.

“I know every vegan spot in town and Loving Hut is the very best,” said a dedicated customer who frequents the eatery at least twice a week.

We were curious to test these claims, so we sat down for a 100% vegan meal (as two non-vegans) and it’s safe to say we were thoroughly impressed.

Our meal began with a selection of some of their most popular appetizers. These included Basil Rolls, a vegan version of spring rolls served alongside a peanut butter dipping sauce, and Cha Cha Cha, a platter of vegan shrimp for dipping in their delectable sweet & sour sauce.

The Basil Rolls were everything we love about spring rolls; they were light and bright, stuffed to the brim with fresh veg, chewy noodles and soft bits of soy protein. But nothing compared to the Cha Cha Cha. I’ve never tasted a tofu alternative so close to the real thing (maybe even a little better). If I didn’t know otherwise, I would have been convinced we were muching on popcorn shrimp.

After appetizers, I was eager to taste one of their entrees. With so many meat-heavy dishes like spaghetti, burgers, nachos and sweet & sour chicken, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about eating one of my favorite foods with tofu protein instead of the real thing. I opted for the Saintly Stir Fry and Mina went with the Sweet & Sour Divine. While it wasn’t quite the tender chicken breast or chewy steak bits we had come to associate with the two dishes, the tofu protein was delicious and perfectly seasoned. It transformed each dish into something new, but equally as delicious as the non-vegan version.

“What people don’t realize, is the meat isn’t what brings the flavor,” says Jeanne Minier, a friend of the restaurant and long-time vegan. “It’s all in the sauce, and anyone can replicate their favorite meat dishes by using the same seasonings, sauces and marinades with tofu.”

We concluded our visit with two slices of heavenly cake; one coconut and one black forest. As for dessert, delicious! The cake layers of both were a perfect balance of fluffy and moist, while the frosting was light, sweet and just enough to cure my sweet tooth.

While I can’t say I’ll be converting to veganism anytime soon, I am happy to join the roster of non-vegan Loving Hut fans! With friendly staff and a loving community that will make you feel just as good as their healthy cuisine, Loving Hut should be a go-to for Gwinnett-based vegans and non-vegans alike.

“That’s what we’re here for after all: To help people understand vegan can be delicious.” – Tammy Chiu