What does it take to open up the Houston location of an international vegan chain restaurant in say, the endcap of a Kirkwood strip center whose previous tenant was the Texas Bar-B.Q. Co.? The Houston Press‘s Katharine Shilcutt tries to explain:
The money that Supreme Master Ching Hai gathers from her followers is used to fund things such as her elaborate and expensive outfits; her adventures in creating and selling jewelry (back to her followers at a huge markup, of course); the filming of long infomercials like the ones that play on a constant loop in the restaurant, which are broadcast to followers via the Internet (which is why the movement has been called a “cybersect”); and the founding of restaurant chains like Loving Hut which adhere to one of the most important principles in Quan Yin: vegetarianism.
The restaurant at 2825 S. Kirkwood, in the Richwood Shopping Center just north of Richmond, is Loving Hut’s 25th U.S. location. But how neatly it fits here: Thank you, Supreme Master! Perhaps other ventures of yours — in painting, poetry, spirituality, fashion design, or beauty makeovers — might find a home in other lonely strip-center locations around town? Surely this formula could be expanded:
Inside its clean, spacious interior, the Houston location of Loving Hut has a table with brochures and various pamphlets on going vegetarian or vegan, along with a wall of photographs of celebrities, all brilliant or beautiful, and all non-carnivorous. If Scientologists were less aggressive and more interested in food, this is undoubtedly the kind of restaurant they would run.
Photos: Loving Hut (top); LoopNet (Richwood Shopping Center)