Slutty Vegan is opening its first location outside of Georgia and it’s right in the heart of downtown Woodlawn.
Birmingham will be the fourth location for the Atlanta-based restaurant whose comfort-food, plant-based burgers have changed the way people think about vegan food.
“I am excited to expand Slutty Vegan outside of Atlanta and into the Woodlawn Community of Birmingham,” said Slutty Vegan Founder and CEO Pinky Cole. “The Woodlawn area is a culturally rich neighborhood that reminded me of my very first location in the West End of ATL.
“We specifically wanted to go into food deserts and locations right in the middle of economic and community revitalization,” she said. “It feels good to be a black woman in business right now. We are representing black excellence and will continue to do so as we bring Slutty Vegan to Birmingham.”
REV Birmingham and Woodlawn Foundation help lead revitalization efforts in the Woodlawn business district, and their teams are working with Cole to build meaningful relationships with the community she will soon serve at her new location on 55th Place, in the heart of Woodlawn’s historic downtown.
Cole, now 33, dreamed up the Slutty Vegan concept in summer 2018 and had already launched her first brick-and-mortar location by January 2019. Having established roots in Atlanta, they have made it their mission to provide quality vegan meals to communities that would have otherwise never had these options. Through passion, quality and taste, Slutty Vegan has emerged as the nation’s most recognized and loved 100% plant-based burger.
The ear-catching business name is born from the menu’s playful approach to vegan food, and the menu is full of more memorable phrases one must speak to order. For example, Cole’s most popular burger is the “One Night Stand,” a patty loaded with vegan bacon, vegan cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato and slutty sauce on a vegan Hawaiian bun.
“It has truly been an honor to work as the real estate broker on the team that brought the visionary Pinky Cole and Slutty Vegan ATL to the Magic City and the great state of Alabama,” said Abra Barnes, Qualifying Broker at Barnes & Associates. “Pinky understands the power of real estate ownership; it’s a requirement for her when she approaches any new market. By layering ownership with philanthropic work and small business mentorship, she goes into inner-city neighborhoods and uses the Slutty Vegan Concepts as a catalyst for revitalization.”
Cole purchased the building from REV Birmingham, an economic development and place-based revitalization nonprofit that also owns more commercial property in Woodlawn. REV’s property ownership strategy supports its mission to create vibrant commercial districts in two ways: (1) getting rid of blighting influences and (2) being a catalyst for a business mix that improves residents’ quality of life and provides growth opportunity for small business owners, particularly minority/women-owned or disadvantaged business owners.
“I am pleased that REV has been able to sell this property to a business owner who will bring even more personality to this vibrant neighborhood, not to mention a new healthy food option in her approachable vegan menu,” said David Fleming, REV Birmingham President and CEO. “Property ownership by a business owner builds community investment and family wealth, which is good for Woodlawn and Ms. Cole. I wish Ms. Cole and Slutty Vegan much success in Woodlawn and look forward to working with her as a community stakeholder.”
Hours after closing on the property, Cole was participating in a virtual meet-and-greet with the residents and business owners of Woodlawn.
Slutty Vegan’s philanthropic arm is an additional way Cole’s business model is a good fit for Woodlawn. The Pinky Cole Foundation focuses on empowering generations of color to win in life, financially, and in the pursuit of their entrepreneurial dreams.
“At Woodlawn Foundation, our residents lead and guide the work. So, after hearing about Slutty Vegan’s business model from Woodlawn residents J.T. and Alycia Moore, I knew I wanted them in Woodlawn,” said Mashonda Taylor, Executive Director of Woodlawn Foundation. “Their commitment to the people in the communities they serve made them a perfect fit for the Woodlawn community. Slutty Vegan may have chosen Birmingham, but the Woodlawn community also chose Slutty Vegan.”
Cole can count celebrities including Snoop Dogg, Usher, Taraji P. Henson, Tiffany Haddish, Will Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Tyler Perry, Martin Lawrence and Missy Elliott among The Slutty Vegan’s customers at her Georgia locations.
Slutty Vegan will open in Birmingham in 2021. In the next 18 months, Slutty Vegan is looking to acquire additional properties for a total of 13 locations.
At REV, we also love seeing the added vibrancy on the street as patrons enjoy outdoor dining in our beautiful city. As indoor dining reopens, cities across the country are realizing that ending expanded outdoor dining could mean leaving money on the table.
Although the Greyhound Bus Terminal was renovated in the ’70s, many original elements of the building remained and have now been become historic highlights in the present-day adaptive reuse project. Join us on a photo tour of the historic space!
This is obviously good for downtown… but why *exactly*? Here’s REV President & CEO David Fleming’s take on what the move means for downtown Birmingham’s place in the world now and in the future.