Slutty Vegan, a vegan burger chain with a cult following, opened this weekend in Brooklyn with a neighborhood party that closed a stretch of Fort Greene and forced Bronx New Yorkers to wait in seemingly endless lines for meatballs. vegan, french fries, and sweet potato pies. “I didn’t know there were so many vegans in Brooklyn,” someone yelled as they passed the scene to a friend during the live DJ.
The restaurant at 690 Fulton Street, South Portland Avenue, is the seventh location of the vegan chain and only the second to open outside Georgia. (The first is in Birmingham, Alabama). In Atlanta, where Slutty Vegan started as a delivery business in 2018, the brand is known for its famous followers – Shaquille O’Neil and Tyler Perry are both outspoken fans – and long lines. In Brooklyn, that reputation apparently preceded itself as fans camped out hours before the noon opening to get a first taste of these vegan burgers and fries.
Jade Gardener, who was first in line on Sunday, arrived at the restaurant with a folding chair just before 8:00 am “I thought I was going to be late,” she said, after watching videos of Slutty Vegan’s other openings online. “In other places, people arrive very early.” Her efforts were rewarded with a giant yellow “Lucky Slut Ticket” worth a free meal from the new restaurant. She planned to cash in on a One Night Stand, the chain’s most popular burger, which comes with vegan bacon, cheese, and caramelized onions on a Hawaiian bun.
The crowd was mostly black, and those standing outside Slutty Vegan on Sunday morning say the restaurant is more than meatless burgers, of which there are already plenty in New York City. “We’re here to show support and love for this black-owned business,” says Dayja Ferreira, who traveled to Fort Greene from the Bronx for the grand opening. She’s been following Slutty Vegan online for years, commenting on her Instagram posts, like countless others, asking for a location in New York.
Founder Pinky Cole says she settled in Fort Greene after being approached by the owners of Broccoli Bar, a vegan restaurant that previously operated out of the corner and planned to close. “I’m very deliberate about where I put Slutty Vegans,” she says. “It has to be a vegan food wasteland, an area that’s in the heart of gentrification, or an area that’s not that attractive to developers.” The Fulton Street restaurant, located in a neighborhood with few vegan restaurants, but with many new high-rise buildings, has checked some of those boxes.
It is the first of a handful of new venues planned for the growing vegan food brand, including one planned to open in Harlem. The restaurant chain announced its plans for 20 additional locations by the end of 2023 earlier this year, after receiving $ 25 million in funding from a group of investors that includes Danny Meyer’s Enlightened Hospitality Investments.
What about the name of the restaurant? “If you were to call this Pinky’s Vegan, how many people do you think there would be?” Cole jokes. “We are doing the vegan lifestyle in a different way. I’m not telling you that if you eat meat you are a bad person. There are no rules for this. We just want you to have fun. “
Uneeda Lebby, who stood at the end of a line that stretched towards Greene Street just before noon, is on board with the unconventional names printed on her T-shirts and shouted by megaphones. When she was asked what she meant to order, she said she had her eyes on a burger with caramelized onions, pickles and sauce called Fussy Hussy. “Isn’t that funny to say?” she says.
Cole arrived in Fort Greene in fashion late, around 12:30 p.m., walking down the steps of a black Mercedes-Benz sprinter van to a group of flashing fans and cameras awaiting his arrival. A few minutes later, she was standing behind a red inauguration ribbon. “Slutty Vegan is no longer an Atlanta romance,” she told the crowd. “Slutty Vegan is a household name.”
She cut the ribbon, danced in the kitchen, and employees who had traveled from Atlanta to Brooklyn for the grand opening went to work on the grills, handing out burgers, fries, and sweet potato pies in paper bags that dripped with vegan fat until when not out of stock five hours later. Here’s what the inauguration looked like.
Slutty Vegan is open Tuesday to Thursday from 12:00 to 20:00 and on Fridays and Saturdays from 12:00 to 21:00