Vegan, Gluten-Free and Paleo: Less is More at Hu Kitchen
Hu Kitchen is a cult classic among NYC's college set: located on Fifth Ave near Union Square, Hu attracts students from nearby school like The New School, NYU and Parsons School of Design, and it's easy to see why: Hu offers an elevated approach to fast-casual dining that Millenials and Gen Z-ers appreciate alike. But Hu attracts more than just young people, they cater to anyone with dietary restrictions, a group that restaurants often overlook. While Hu is widely known as being a paleo-friendly spot, they have a big selection of vegan options and are entirely gluten-free.
What sets Hu apart from the vast array of other similar spots is their high-quality ingredients. Co-founders, siblings, Jessica Karp and Jordan Brown noticed that when they removed cheap vegetable and canola oils from their diet, they felt lighter, more clear-headed and healthier overall. Then, the duo set out to create a restaurant that only carried the highest quality of ingredients, using organic coconut oil to cook their dishes, and offering baked goods that are gluten-free but taste like the real thing.
Hu's NYC location has captured a distinctive coziness that has solidified the establishment as a go-to meeting spot or working area for locals. The walls are stacked high with boxes and bags of delicious snacks so customers can get their Hu fix even when they're far from Fifth Ave. The organic, fair-trade coffee bar boasts optional ad-ons like collagen along with house-made unsweetened almond milk and organic coconut milk.
Towards the back of the restaurant, they offer customers a build-your-own bowl option, where anything can be customized to be 100% vegan, and the base ingredients, sides and proteins are all unbelievably fresh. Along with their organic, fair-trade food options, Hu shows its commitment to sustainability by not stocking any single-use plastics for in-store dining. Rather, they have reusable cups and utensils, which only adds to the feeling that you're dining in a loved one's kitchen. The staff is incredibly helpful and will assist you in figuring out what you can eat based on your dietary restrictions. And if you happen to see the general manager Zack Muskat walking around, have him recommend some of his favorite dishes to try: he's been at Hu since 2013 and knows his way around customizing the perfect burger or bowl.
While you'd have to visit their New York City location to enjoy customizable bowls, smoothies, juices and the expansive coffee bar, Hu's chocolates are carried at grocery stores nationwide and have garnered attention and adoration from celebrities like Dwayne Wade, Gabrielle Union and Reese Witherspoon.
The vegan treats are offered in an array of unique flavors, including cashew butter + raspberry jelly, orange dream, crunchy mint, hazelnut butter, almond butter + puffed quinoa and more. The chocolate bars, like the restaurant itself, are paleo, vegan, soy-free and refined-sugar free, but for every ingredient they lack, they're astonishingly delicious, something we could say about the entire restaurant.