There’s often a line on a stretch of sidewalk on Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard in Atlanta. The average onlooker might expect people are there to spot a celebrity, or buy whatever the newest Apple release is. But then they hear the words “slut,” “sluttified,” and “we’ve got a virgin.” This isn’t your average crowd, and Slutty Vegan, a 100 percent plant-based burger joint in the West End, isn’t your average restaurant.
Slutty Vegan launched in the summer of 2018 and changed the course of founder Pinky Cole’s life forever. After craving “healthy junk food,” she came up with the idea to start a vegan burger and fries place with suggestive marketing. With names like “Fussy Hussy,” “Ménage à Trois,” and “Sloppy Toppy,” Cole and her staff have caught the attention of thousands of people throughout the Atlanta area.
Sex sells, but with Slutty Vegan, Cole has created a world where veganism reigns supreme and sloppy burgers are better than sex (depending on who you ask). It’s not only her provocative marketing that captures both vegan and non-vegan consumers, though. It’s the quality of the food. Whether you’re craving a burger, a hot dog, or a po’ boy, Slutty Vegan’s entirely plant-based menu has a non-meat twist on classic favorites.
The burgers are made with Impossible meat, the hot dogs with Beyond meat, and po’ boys are made with vegan “shrimp.” Indulgent toppings like caramelized onions, jalapeños, sweet jerk plantains, vegan cheese, guacamole, and proprietary “slutty sauce” round the menu options out. Even the proudest meat-eaters are lining up to be converted from a virgin to a bonafide slut.
“A Slutty Vegan is someone who takes time away from their busy lives to indulge in the pleasures that life brings,” the website reads. “And there is no better pleasure than eating good food with good people! So take a break from your brussel sprouts and quinoa salads and enjoy the best burger in town!”
Although the magnetic traction of Slutty Vegan’s success seems overnight, Cole has been building up to this moment. Back in 2014, Cole opened up a Jamaican restaurant in New York City, but after two years she had to shut down due to a grease fire. It wasn’t until 2018 that she came up with the Slutty Vegan idea, and as you can see, the rest is history.
After receiving a food service permit last July, Slutty Vegan was initially selling through delivery apps. Then Cole upgraded to a food truck in September 2018. Five months later, she launched her first brick-and-mortar restaurant. The rapid rise has been thanks to a loyal customer base as well as celebrity clients. After the “Plant-based Princess” Dymetra Pernell gave Slutty Vegan its first social media endorsement, Cole used social media to her advantage and started reaching out to other celebrities.
First was Iyanla Vanzant, the host of the TV series Fix My Life. Sales (and social media following) jumped after Vanzant posted a video on Instagram. Other celebrities that’ve stopped by include Amanda Seales and Colin Kaepernick. Slutty Vegan’s Instagram currently has over 200,000 followers, and people stay locked in to find out where the food truck will be that day, new developments on the growing business, and which celebrities are discovering its food.
Yet the most endearing part about Slutty Vegan isn’t the celebrity clients, the party-like vibe, or even how good the burgers are. It’s the fact that Cole is providing healthy food choices for the predominantly African-American neighborhood that Slutty Vegan operates out of.
According to a 2017 study done by the National Institutes of Health, the chance of developing diabetes is significantly higher for black adults than for white adults. High blood pressure and obesity are other health issues impacting the black community at higher rates. Cole encourages healthy eating as a way to combat these problems. Veganism, after all, is a way of eating that anyone can do if the opportunity is there, and Atlanta is one of the top cities in the US when it comes to accessible and affordable plant-based options.
Although burgers and fries may not seem like a healthy way of life, Cole is opening the door for non-vegan eaters to see that veganism isn’t just a bland diet of salads and smoothies. To further drive home her desire to help the community, the restaurant gave away 1,500 pounds of fruit and vegetables for free from Bread and Butter Farmers, a black-owned farm.
So what’s next for Slutty Vegan? Besides continuing to sell some of the best vegan food in Atlanta, Slutty Vegan is opening a location in the Old Fourth Ward in addition to the original and the second property in nearby Jonesboro. Cole also has plans to sell Slutty Strips (the restaurant’s vegan bacon) in stores, and she recently signed a development deal for a reality show.
All the more opportunity to get sluttified by a “One Night Stand.” It is, after all, good for you.
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