Vegans just got more food options—at least in Pennsylvania. The first Black-owned vegan soul food restaurant is now open in Harrisburg. And the food looks almost too good to eat.
House of Vegans (HOV) officially opened its doors back in July. But prior to having their own brick and mortar, the plant-based couple behind the venture—Stefan Hawkins and his fiancée, LaQuana Barber—sold their delicious meatless eats at local pop-ups.
Hawkins and Barber told LIVEKINDLY that they founded HOV after noticing a lack of healthy, vegan options in their area.
“We thought Harrisburg needed more vegan options. We got tired of traveling to other cities in order to enjoy a good meal and a night out,” he explained. “You don’t see healthy food choices in marginalized communities’ grocery stores.”
“We get the processed crap that they know will give us diabetes, high cholesterol, and blood pressure. They don’t teach us about healthy eating. We want to promote good eating for our community and show them that you don’t need meat with every dish in order to eat,” he added.
Home of Thee Slaps
The vegan restaurant, nicknamed Home of Thee Slaps, serves up a number of tasty options like soul food platters featuring fried cauliflower, chick’n drums, and BBQ jackfruit.
HOV also carries plant-based burgers, bowls, and hunger-satisfying sides like yams, collard greens, cabbage, baked mac and cheese, and cornbread.
Hawkins and Barber hope the mouthwatering vegan menu will encourage others to try eating plant-based.
Barber, who’s been vegan for three years, ditched meat and dairy in order to help alleviate her bad asthma. And Hawkins, a former McDonald’s employee, explained that experiencing the underbellies of the meat industry firsthand inspired his dietary switch.
“[LaQuana] wanted to become healthy in mind body and spirit. And I saw how bad the meat industry really was. And how chemicals were used in our food. Not to mention McDonald’s food processing system was scary,” Hawkins said. “Cooking burgers in 40 seconds never sat well with me. I researched practices of the meat industry and it completely helped me make up my mind.”