On a Wednesday afternoon, hordes of eager Brooklynites lined busy Fulton Street in the heart of Fort Greene. The bold cry, “We’ve got a maiden in the house!” was heard, over and over, up and down the block.
“I want a one night stand,” said one woman to her friend who was dating a Hollywood hooker. A lady in a pink blazer exited the building muttering to herself, “I’ve never been called a slut in my life!” An 8-year-old boy turned to his mother and asked, “What’s a slut?”
Welcome to Slutty Vegan – not a cruelty-free strip club, but a provocative plant-based fast food concept that just opened its first location in New York. Customers — aka “sluts” — order sexy, sassy veggie takes on burgers, cheesesteaks, hot dogs, and chicken fingers.
The cheeky chain was founded in Atlanta in 2018 by founder Pinky Cole, a former Harlem restaurateur, who began with the goal of redefining how people view vegan food and wrapping it in a playful, daring bow.
Now the 4 year old concept has seven locations and is being counted and is valued at $100 million with Danny Meyers Enlightened Hospitality Investments among its backers. Amid her success, Cole has given back and started the Pinky Cole Foundation to support entrepreneurs of color.
At the Brooklyn outpost, stroller moms, suits and art students line up to get a taste. Even Mayor Eric Adams, who has adopted a mostly plant-based diet since 2016, welcomed Slutty Vegan with a video message, saying, “It’s about time you brought your vegan burgers here to the greatest city on earth.”
But the restaurant’s name, not to mention the menu items — banana pudding is served in a paper cup labeled Happy Ending, while the ménage à trois, a burger made with vegan bacon, shrimp, cheese, and the house’s signature slut sauce, is served is a hot seller – has proven to be a sticking point for local parents. Brooklyn moms and dads are eager to support a black-owned business and have delicious plant-based fare in the neighborhood, but they don’t love the brazen branding.
“I had to explain what ‘slutty’ means in the language of a 7-year-old and it was difficult, so I’m not really excited about it,” said Alice Dietz, 50, who waited in line to welcome her vegan son Teddy buy , 7, a faux cheeseburger kids meal.
“Whatever makes people think about vegan food and what makes people interested [is good]said the Crown Heights resident, who has been vegan since he was 15. “But as a mom, I wish it wasn’t called that.”
As she spoke, Teddy peppered her with more questions about the restaurant’s moniker.
“It’s a controversial name that people call for a girl,” she said patiently to her son. “It’s very insulting. Mommy doesn’t like that and you should never say it. It’s a girl who might date more than one – many different boys or girls.”
Others don’t mind all the references.
Massah Fofana, 52, a Flatbush-based artist and vegan for 26 years, was dying to take her 8-year-old granddaughter Queen to an after-school treat after reading about Slutty Vegan. The duo enjoyed a One Night Stand Burger (with vegan bacon, cheese, and caramelized onions) and a Fussy Hussy (vegan cheese, onions, and pickles).
“I never explained it [the name] to her,” Fofana told the Post. “I have just [asked her], ‘Hey, do you want to go to Slutty Vegan?’ I said, ‘That’s the stupidest thing right now,’ so that’s all she cares about. I love that it’s more modern; It’s not just lettuce on your plate, vegetables on your plate. I love the name.”
Meanwhile, two college-age girls hungry for burgers said they felt empowered by the branding and giggled when one of the workers shouted, “Order up, bitch!” to a grown man waiting for his dinner waits.
Pinky Cole isn’t the first restaurateur to realize that sex sells. Eggslut, a long-line Los Angeles-based breakfast sandwich concept, now has branches in Las Vegas, London and across Asia, while adult-only bakery Sugar Wood opened in Manhattan in July, serving penis-shaped waffles. And hookup culture inspired the now-closed Harlem Mexican restaurant, Sexy Taco Dirty Cash, in 2016 with an image of a woman astride a taco.
Still, some Brooklyn parents are steering clear — though they may be curious about the food and excited about plant-based options.
“I would feel good about picking up food and bringing it to their house,” confessed a Park Slope mother-of-two, “but I wouldn’t feel comfortable bringing it.” [my kids there]where they would be bombarded with messages like this about women and sex.”
https://nypost.com/2022/09/30/sex-sells-at-nycs-slutty-vegan-restaurant-in-brooklyn/ Sex sells at NYC’s Slutty Vegan restaurant in Brooklyn