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Loving Cafe restaurant – Ft. Wayne

December 15, 2010
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As I’ve mentioned before, we really like food. What better gift to give ourselves this holiday season then food? We were so surprised the other day to find that Indiana has a Loving Hut, that we decided it was time to take a trip to check it out.

Loving Hut is a vegan franchise associated with a Buddhist leader who, apart from promoting the spread of vegan food through these worldwide chains, also sells paintings, photo books, and even fashion. Supreme Master Ching Hai has been accused by some of running a cult, and if you’ve been to a Loving Hut with its television showing Supreme Master TV, you might understand why some people find it all a bit odd. But who are we to judge? Ultimately, she’s promoting a green and animal friendly message, and that sounds alright to us.

We’ve eaten at Loving Huts in Seoul and Los Angeles and always really enjoyed them. While franchises, each Loving Hut is unique, with its own menus, run by its individual owners. So we decided to make the drive to Ft. Wayne (why does Ft. Wayne have a Loving Hut and Indy doesn’t? That’s not fair!) and were glad we did.

While part of the Loving Hut chain, it’s called Loving Cafe in Ft. Wayne (and Cincy), and the Ft. Wayne location is in a little strip mall. The staff was very friendly, they had a great selection of dishes, and since we had driven up from Indy to sample it, we ordered more than we could eat and brought the rest home!

vegan udon noodles

The first dish we got was the udon noodles, topped with faux chicken and shrimp, broccoli, red peppers, sugar peas, and carrots. This was very good, similar to lo mein.

orange sweet and sour vegan "chicken"

The orange sweet and sour “chicken” was served with a salad with a creamy dressing and brown rice. The faux chicken was nicely fried with a good texture and a strong orange flavor. The salad was really good too!

vegan gyros

The final of the main dishes that we ordered was the gyros. It was really good but was more like a gyros salad. As you can see, it was stuffed with lettuce and positively overflowing, so we had to eat it with a fork and knife. The pita was also pretty thin, so more like a cross between a pita and a tortilla. That being said, it was smothered with a delicious vegan tzatziki sauce and had crisp, fresh vegetables along with faux chicken and turkey.

vegan cheesecake

As you can see by the picture above, we were in full-on devour mode by the time the desserts arrived and started eating them before remembering to take pictures. So I’d like to say the dessert photos have bites out of them for artistic purposes, but really, we lost our heads for a moment. This vegan cheesecake was very good with plenty of strawberry drizzle.

vegan chocolate brownie

The vegan chocolate brownie was our final stop on the menu. The icing was fudgy heaven.

We went home stuffed and with plenty of leftovers and the food high was good enough to last us for our drive back to Indy. While there are a few entirely vegetarian restaurants in Indianapolis, as far as I’m aware, there are no entirely vegan restaurants. Loving Cafe is such a joy in that everything on the menu is vegan, and they have a lot of choices.

We were almost expecting a small suffering restaurant desperate for customers, but the place was hopping. I don’t know if it was because it was Monday (with the Meat-free Monday movement), but we arrived pretty early in the evening, just after 5pm, and in less than an hour, over 10 people had come in the restaurant. I think more likely it’s about people knowing yummy and affordable food. We had three entrees and two desserts for around $26. As Sunnie said, people know a good deal, and with variety, good prices, and good food, Loving Cafe is definitely a good deal. Can’t wait to go back!

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. kris permalink
    December 18, 2010 5:33 am

    gosh, your photos and review are simply… irresistible… even at 2:30 AM! thank you for leaving a trace of vegan goodness thru these pictures to share throughout the Internet! if only ppl knew how fabulous vegan food is… mMMmm

    oh and thanks also for leaving aside rubbish people say about Supreme Master Ching Hai. agree with you there — who are we to judge. anyway, if a so-called cult can make the world a greener and kinder place for the animals, then they have my full on support! politicians aren’t doing it fast enough.

    …now I have to scroll back up to look at the pictures again…

    • Bill permalink*
      December 18, 2010 5:28 pm

      Thanks for visiting, Kris! I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. We’re already craving more Loving Cafe and wishing it was closer!

  2. Rachel permalink
    February 12, 2011 9:12 am

    Hello! I am in the Noblesville/fishers area as well and I NEED to make the trip out to this restaurant :)

    • Bill permalink*
      February 12, 2011 9:18 am

      Hi, Rachel! It’s totally worth it. We haven’t made the trip again yet but have talked about doing so on multiple occasions. Once this horrible weather finally turns, I think we’re definitely heading back, and there’s been discussion about doing an Indy Veggie Meetup there, so maybe we can plan something!

  3. May 8, 2011 6:03 pm

    I live 10 minutes from Loving Hut. :-) Yes, I absolutely love this vegan chain restaurants. I often buy food to go after work when I am too lazy to cook. The owner and workers are always so nice and helpful. The food is so delicious. True, the one you visited here has a different menu than the one I visit often. The prices are so reasonable that non-vegetarians want to try the chain restaurants and keep coming back. This business has been so successful and encourage people who are not vegetarians to eat vegan more often. I am glad that you are not judgmental toward the group. The group was written up in a negative way by many sources but they only want to do good stuff for the world.

    • Sunnie permalink*
      May 8, 2011 10:29 pm

      Debbie, we are soooo jealous. We love Loving Hut. I wish we lived closer to one. We’re leaving for Seoul in a couple days – we’ll be there for several weeks – and we can’t wait to visit all the Loving Huts in Seoul. There are a ton of them! :P We’ll make sure to post some reviews of them while we’re there!!

  4. May 9, 2011 12:10 pm

    Have a wonderful time Sunnie! YES, please blog about this restaurant. I am sure that the menu will be different. I am looking forward to it. I am interested to know vegan korean restaurants. There is none in my area.
    Please visit all the veg Korean restaurants in Seoul and blog about them. :-)

    • Sunnie permalink*
      May 9, 2011 12:49 pm

      We will definitely do that, Debbie! ;)

  5. May 9, 2011 12:56 pm

    http://lovinghut.us/orange/menu/menu.html This is the Loving Hut that I frequently visit. Their menu has more Vietnamese dishes. They are cheap I often spend only $24-30 for 3 or 4 dishes. It’s really helping us to be vegans and so convenient. I hope there will be Loving Hut in every corner like Starbucks (and every airport, too).

    • Sunnie permalink*
      May 9, 2011 2:14 pm

      Debbie, I actually think this is the Loving hut we visited when we were in Anaheim for a conference in October last year!!! We really enjoyed it. Their soups were soooo good. Well, everything was very good. We went multiple times in the short 4 days we were there. I totally agree with you about wishing Loving Hut being in every corner, wouldn’t that be awesome?

  6. May 9, 2011 1:04 pm

    BTW, Sunnie, have you ever made Dol Sot Bi Bim Bap at home ? (The vegan way). I once had this dish in a Korean vegan restaurant in Newport Beach, Oregon (it is now closed down) when we traveled up and down the coast of Oregon and it was so delicious. I believe I will have to buy the stone bowl that I can fire up on top of my stove. Please let me know if you can teach us when you get back from Seoul :-) how to make this at home (with the hot stone bowl). What kind of bowl to buy and how to heat it up, etc. I am really interested. :-) If you don’t mind, of course, and…if it is possible to do at home.

    • Sunnie permalink*
      May 9, 2011 2:14 pm

      Debbie, people don’t really make Dolsot Bibimbap at home in Korea. In order to heat up the bowls to be hot enough for the rice on the bottom of the bowl to get crispy, it takes a very long time. You have to heat the stone bowls to get to the high temperature. The rice and veggies have to be around 400 degrees and the bowl has to be even higher. If you just want it in a warm bowl, it’s not a problem to make it at home, but people usually like the crispy rice on the bottom, and that’s very hard to get at home in Korea where people don’t all have ovens. I’ve had people try it and at the end, they all end up concluding that it’s not worth the effort. We do have the bowls, but don’t often use them. I will share what we do for Dolsot Bibimbap and what kind of stone bowls we use when I get back in mid June!! :)

  7. May 9, 2011 3:14 pm

    Oh,ok. I was thinking too that the stove at home will not be hot enough. That’s too bad. I truly enjoy the dish when we ate it at a vegan korean restaurant in 2004. Only one time. :-) We never tried this dish in a regular Korean restaurant when we weren’t veggie yet. Now, there is no Korean restaurant that serves veggie Dolsot Bibimbap.

    I’ll wait for you and your ideas in June. :-) Have a great time in Seoul!

  8. May 9, 2011 3:22 pm

    I agree the soups in that Loving Hut restaurant is delicious. Royal Noodle soup is my favorite.

    Next time you are in Anaheim, try this restaurant too. http://www.yelp.com/biz/thuyen-vien-anaheim We practically come and eat here once a week. Only 1 or 2 items that are not vegan. It’s a family Vietnamese Buddhist restaurant and the owner is very nice. The food is excellent. We also have Native Foods (http://www.nativefoods.com/) and Veggie Grill (http://www.veggiegrill.com/) – American style dishes. There is also a Happy Family Chinese Vegetarian restaurant in Costa Mesa (http://www.yelp.com/biz/happy-family-costa-mesa) . There are plenty vegan/vegetarian restaurant that you can try for each meal in our area. :-)

    • Bill permalink*
      May 9, 2011 4:08 pm

      Hi, Debbie. We actually almost went to that Vietnamese restaurant (found it on Happy Cow) but ended up detouring to a Korean restaurant we saw. You have no idea how much we ate while we were in Anaheim! We kept visiting the Loving Hut because it was so good, but we did try out Native Foods too. Thanks for the recommendations. Sunnie’s brother is going to start graduate school in the fall, so we hope to make it out to the LA area more often now! We are getting more and more veggie friendly restaurants around here, but we only have one entirely vegetarian restaurant (Indian food) and it’s not vegan. So we really enjoy when we can visit cities that have lots of options, and Anaheim was great!

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