The Reynoldsburg Board of Zoning and Building Appeals approved a special exception use permit Nov. 18 for the Loving Hut vegan restaurant to move into the Blacklick Plaza.

The Reynoldsburg Board of Zoning and Building Appeals approved a special exception use permit Nov. 18 for the Loving Hut vegan restaurant to move into the Blacklick Plaza.

The restaurant will be located at the southwest corner of Baldwin Road and East Livingston Avenue in a 2,210-square-foot space. It will employ five people and will be able to seat 52 patrons.

The Loving Hut chain originated in Taiwan. The Reynoldsburg restaurant will be the first in the chain to open in the central Ohio area, according to franchise manager David McDorman. He said the chain is growing and currently has more than 125 franchises nationwide.

"It's the fastest-growing vegan restaurant chain in the world right now, and the readers of Vegetarian News voted it their No. 1 restaurant globally," McDorman said.

He said the Loving Hut is focused on serving healthy foods with nothing from an animal and everything 100 percent vegan.

McDorman said the focus at the Loving Hut is on healthy foods with a focus on a non-killing diet and a sustainable planet.

"It's all animal-free," he said of the menu. "It's showing people how to eat without killing animals, basically.

"Everybody thinks going veggie is eating salads all the time but I guess that's the whole point - we're showing you you don't have to do that," he said.

Some of the dishes might be Asian-themed, but he said more than 70 percent of the items on his menu will cater to western tastes, McDorman said.

"We'll have everything from vegan Philly cheese steak, chili cheese fries, to vegan chicken sandwiches, vegan burgers and vegan chicken wings," he said. "It's stuff a typical westerner would have who goes without meats but the main idea behind it is the non-killing diet."

The Loving Hut will not serve alcohol, but McDorman said its specialties, aside from the variety of entrees and appetizers, include smoothies, desserts and coffee drinks.

He said Reynoldsburg's Blacklick Plaza site was chosen because of its location and because there are no vegan-only restaurant options available in that area of town.

Construction of the interior of the restaurant will begin this week and McDorman said he hopes to have a soft opening by the end of December with a grand opening sometime in January.

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