Atlanta Burger Chain Slutty Vegan Opens in Fort Greene

Atlanta Burger Chain Slutty Vegan Opens in Fort Greene

Atlanta Burger Chain Slutty Vegan Opens in Fort Greene

Slutty Vegan, a vegan burger chain with a cult following, opened in Brooklyn this weekend with a block party that shut down a stretch of Fort Greene and had New Yorkers from as far as the Bronx waiting in seemingly endless lines for vegan patties, fries, and sweet potato pies. “I didn’t know there were so many vegans in Brooklyn,” someone passing the stage shouted to a friend over the live DJ.

The restaurant at 690 Fulton Street, off South Portland Avenue, is the vegan chain’s seventh location, and only the second to open outside of 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 celebrity following — Shaquille O’Neil and Tyler Perry are both outspoken fans — and hour-long lines. In Brooklyn, that rumor clearly got ahead of itself because fans camped out hours before the dinner 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 a.m. “I thought I was late,” she said after watching videos of Slutty Vegan’s other openings online. “At their other locations, people get there very early.” Her efforts were rewarded with a giant yellow “Lucky Slut Ticket” worth one 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.

Customers line up and wait for the grand opening of Slutty Vegan in Brooklyn, New York.

Jade Gardener arrived at the restaurant at 8am to be first in line.

A customer has a large yellow ticket with the words

This yellow ticket is worth one free meal in the restaurant.

The crowd was overwhelmingly black, and those standing outside Slutty Vegan on Sunday morning say the restaurant is about 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,” said Dayja Ferreira, who traveled to Fort Greene from the Bronx for the opening. She’s been following Slutty Vegan online for years, commenting on their Instagram posts, like countless others, and begging for a spot in New York.

Founder Pinky Cole says she settled on Fort Greene after being approached by the owners of Broccoli Bar, a vegan restaurant that previously operated around the corner and planned to close. “I’m very conscious of where I put Slutty Vegans,” she says. “It either has to be a vegan food desert, 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 lots of new high-rises — checked some of those boxes.

It’s the first of a handful of new locations planned for the growing vegan food brand, including another slated 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.

A gloved hand assembles several burgers at once, adding lettuce, tomato, cheese and so on.

The menu at Slutty Vegan consists of a handful of burgers and specialties that change daily.

An orange sauce is drizzled on several burgers at the same time.

“Slut Sauce” in action.

What about the name of the restaurant? “If I called this concept Pinky’s Vegan, how many people do you think would be there?” Cole jokes. “We’re doing the vegan lifestyle in a different way. I’m not telling you that if you eat meat, you’re a bad person. There are no rules about this. We just want you to feel good.”

Uneeda Lebby, who stood at the back of a line stretching toward Greene Street just before noon, is on board with the unconventional names printed on T-shirts and shouted from megaphones. When asked what she intended to order, she said she wanted a burger with caramelized onions, pickles and sauce called the Fussy Hussy. “Isn’t that funny to say?” she says.

Cole arrived in Fort Greene fashionably late, around 12:30 p.m., and descended the steps of a black Mercedes-Benz sprinter to a group of fans and flashing cameras awaiting her arrival. A few minutes later she was standing behind a red opening ribbon. “Slutty Vegan is no longer an Atlanta love story,” she told the crowd. “Slutty Vegan is a household name.”

She cut the ribbon, danced through the kitchen, and employees who had traveled from Atlanta to Brooklyn for the opening went to work on the grills, handing out burgers, fries and sweet potato pies in paper bags dripping with vegan grease until they sold out five hours later. This is what the opening looked like.

An illuminated sign with the words Slutty Vegan is surrounded by red, white and yellow balloons.

Fort Greene was closed to traffic between Greene and South Portland avenues for the opening.

The crowded interior of Slutty Vegan, a fast food restaurant that opened in Brooklyn, New York on September 18.

No indoor seating, but lots of merch, inside the restaurant.

Customers take photos outside the Brooklyn opening of Slutty Vegan.

Slutty Vegan sold out of burgers, fries and pies about five hours after opening.

Pinky Cole, founder of Slutty Vegan, fronts the new restaurant.

Pinky Cole, founder of Slutty Vegan.

Pinky Cole, founder of Slutty Vegan, prepares to cut a grand opening ribbon in Brooklyn, New York.

City councilor Farah Louis attended the ribbon cutting.

A hand grabs a vegan burger with meatless bacon and lettuce in front of a block party background.

The One Night Stand, a vegan burger with bacon, caramelized onions, tomato, lettuce and sauce on a Hawaiian bun.

Slutty Vegan is open Tuesday to Thursday from 12 to 20, and Friday and Saturday from 12 to 21.

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