Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

House of Vegans restaurant in Harrisburg closes, starts crowdfunding with hopes of reopening

House of Vegans restaurant in Midtown Harrisburg has closed.

A relatively new restaurant that successfully got people excited about vegan food has tabled its operations–at least for now.

Due to financial challenges, owners of House of Vegan’s restaurant in Midtown Harrisburg have temporarily closed up shop.

“We are greatly saddened by having to close, but it’s necessary,” said Stefan Hawkins, who co-owns the restaurant with his partner Laquana Barber, in a text message. “We thank everyone who has supported us and been here since day one.”

In a press release on Tuesday, Hawkins said that House of Vegans may look for another location if they can raise enough money through a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign to help them get back up and running.

On Jan. 24, he created the GoFundMe page with the hopes of getting enough to reopen and install a grill. As of Tuesday, it had received $2,400.

House of Vegans opened at 1426 N. 3rd St. in July 2020, stating that they were the city’s first Black-owned vegan restaurant. They specialized in vegan soul food—dairy-free mac and cheese, yams, soy drumsticks and their popular meat-free “Slap Burger.”

Hawkins said that they signed their lease before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but opened during it. Like many other businesses, he said that it took a toll on House of Vegans. According to Hawkins, business declined by 70% from November to January, making it difficult to order products, as well as pay bills and employees.

However, Hawkins just recently opened Good Brotha’s Book Café across the street from the restaurant. The coffee shop has a focus on African American literature and art. He said that the café may begin to carry some select House of Vegans food items.

“We want to continue to provide our customers with a great vegan dining experience,” Hawkins said.

For more information on House of Vegans, visit their Facebook page.

Hear more from Stefan Hawkins on TheBurg Podcast’s upcoming February episode, available this Friday, February 12. It’s an in-depth conversation about the motivation, along with the ups and downs, of becoming a Black-owned business owner.

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