Slutty Vegan's Brooklyn Open Was Sexy Meatless Mayhem

Slutty Vegan’s Brooklyn Open Was Sexy Meatless Mayhem

Slutty Vegan, a cult vegan burger chain, opened in Brooklyn this weekend with a block party that shuttered part of Fort Greene and left New Yorkers from as far away 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 through the live DJ.

The restaurant at 690 Fulton Street on 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 debuted as a delivery company in 2018, the brand is known for its celebrity followings – Shaquille O’Neil and Tyler Perry are both avowed fans – and its long lines of waiting. In Brooklyn, that reputation apparently took hold because fans camped out hours before the noon opening to get a taste of these vegan burgers and fries.

Jade Gardener, who was on the front line on Sunday, arrived at the restaurant with a folding chair just before 8am. “On their other sites, 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 features vegan bacon, cheese and caramelized onions on a Hawaiian bun.

Jade Gardener arrived at the restaurant at 8 a.m. to be on the front line.

A customer is holding a large yellow ticket with the words

This yellow ticket is worth a free meal at the restaurant.

The crowd was mostly black, and those standing outside Slutty Vegan on Sunday morning say the restaurant is about much more than meatless burgers, of which there are already plenty in New York. “We’re here to show our support and love for this black-owned business,” says Dayja Ferreira, who traveled to Fort Greene from the Bronx for the opening. She’s been following Slutty Vegan online for years, commenting on her Instagram posts, like countless others, begging for a location in New York.

Founder Pinky Cole says she moved to Fort Greene after being approached by the owners of Broccoli Bar, a vegan restaurant that previously operated out of corner space and planned to close. “I’m very intentional about where I put Slutty Vegans,” she says. “It has to be either a vegan food desert, an area in the heart of gentrification, or an area that’s not so attractive to developers.” The Fulton Street restaurant – located in an area with few vegan restaurants, but many new high-rise developments – ticked 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 plans for 20 more locations by the end of 2023 earlier this year, after receiving $25 million in funding from an investor group that includes Danny Meyer’s Enlightened Hospitality Investments.

A gloved hand assembles several burgers at once, adding lettuce, tomato, cheese, etc.

Slutty Vegan’s menu consists of a handful of burgers and specials that change daily.

An orange sauce is drizzled over several burgers at once.

“Slut Sauce” in action.

As for the name of the restaurant? “If I had to name this concept Pinky’s Vegan, how many people do you think there would have been?” Cole jokes. “We do the vegan lifestyle in a different way. I am not telling you that if you eat meat you are a bad person. There are no rules to this. We just want you to have a good time.

Uneeda Lebby, who stood at the back of a line that stretched towards Greene Street just before noon, is on board with the unconventional names that have been printed on t-shirts and shouted into megaphones. When asked what she was planning to order, she said she had her sights set on a burger with caramelized onions, pickles and gravy called the Fussy Hussy. “Isn’t that fun to say?” ” she says.

Cole arrived in fashionable Fort Greene late, around 12:30 p.m., descending the steps in a black Mercedes-Benz sprinter van to a group of fans and flashing cameras awaiting his arrival. A few minutes later, she was standing behind a red inauguration ribbon. “Slutty Vegan is no longer an Atlanta love affair,” 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 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 lined with 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 seating inside, but plenty of produce inside the restaurant.

Customers take pictures outside the Brooklyn opening of Slutty Vegan.

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

Pinky Cole, founder of Slutty Vegan, stands in front of the new restaurant.

Pinky Cole, founder of Slutty Vegan.

Pinky Cole, founder of Slutty Vegan, prepares to cut an inauguration ribbon in Brooklyn, New York.

City Council Member Farah Louis attended the inauguration.

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

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

Slutty Vegan is open Tuesday through Thursday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.


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