Popular vegan ice creamery Hug Life to open first Long Beach shop

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

Owner Johny Tran currently have 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.

Furthermore, using cashew over the far Loren popular coconut as their base allows flavors to stand stronger on their own

“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 “Hug Life” tattooed on his stomach 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 will be 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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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food to politics to urban transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 12 nominations and an additional win for Best Political Commentary. Born in Big Bear, he has lived in Long Beach since college. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.
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