Popular vegan ice creamery Hug Life opens first Long Beach shop

This article was originally published on May 25 and has been updated.

It has a faithful following in Orange County, maintains a five-star rating on Yelp, and, now, it has officially made its first foray beyond the Orange Curtain: Hug Life has opened up a shop on Fourth Street where Do Good Donuts formerly operated.

Owner Johny Tran currently has two locations in Orange County. The flagship location in Garden Grove opened in 2017 with his Orange shop opening the following year—and he has built a reputation for serving some of the region’s best vegan desserts.

From vegan ice cream tacos—decadent, folded wonders where a sweet shell is filled with three scoops of ice cream and then topped with condensed coconut milk—to vegan milkshakes, the self-proclaimed anti-dairy creamery offers a constantly shifting array of flavors: Vietnamese coffee. Mango and chamoy. Roasted black sesame seed with activated charcoal. Taro root.

“Hug Life was conceived by a close-knit group of friends who had a plant-based lifestyle and listened to a lot of hip hop,” said Tran, who has a “Hug Life” tattoo in a nod to Tupac’s “Thug Life” tattoo. “Growing up with traditional families in a financial struggle, we didn’t have much help or support. In fact, a few of us went against our family’s wishes; we dropped out of school in order to pursue a vision.”

That vision became Hug Life and was an attempt “to eliminate awkward conversations that can occur between friends with different dietary needs.”

The crew is not entirely new to Long Beach: Hug Life participated in a popup during Retro Row’s celebration of the first anniversary of California Drifters, an apparel shop on Fourth Street, last night. It was there they made their announcement.

Hug Life is located at 2707 E. Fourth St.

Brian Addison is a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or on social media at FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

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