Neither 90-degree-plus heat nor a deadly pandemic kept lines from snaking around Clayton County’s newest business last Saturday.
The highly-anticipated downtown Jonesboro opening of vegan burger joint Slutty Vegan drew more than a 1,000 people who camped out under umbrellas and in chairs along North McDonough Street, beginning early that morning.
Shiesha Boyer arrived two hours before the doors opened at 3 p.m. From the looks of it, the McDonough resident had at least another couple of hours before she’d get her first taste of the plant-based burgers made famous by celebrities such as rap icon Snoop Dogg and movie mogul Tyler Perry. (By the end of the day, more than 1,000 people were served.)
“I’m definitely a foodie. I’ll drive two hours just to try restaurants,”Boyers said through her mask.
She passed the time posting live updates on Facebook, a portable chair in tow. A deejay regaled the crowd with music as they inched closer to the eatery.
Slutty Vegan’s two-story historic home in downtown Jonesboro is a coup for Clayton. The popular eatery has been touted in The New York Times, Forbes, and Essence magazines and could have gone anywhere in metro Atlanta. Yet, it chose the southside community for its second location.
For owner Aisha “Pinky” Cole, the Clayton opening is the expansion of what started as a delivery service out of her two-bedroom apartment in Atlanta in 2018. From there, Cole began selling the meatless fare with off-color names such as Menage a Trois and One Night Stand from a food truck. That led to her first brick-and-mortar restaurant in the Westview community of Atlanta.
The Jonesboro outlet will have an expanded menu that features new items such as sea moss banana pudding.
The Jonesboro opening caps a year of planning and places Slutty Vegan squarely at the center of Jonesboro’s multi-year revitalization plans that call for transforming Clayton’s county seat into an economic and entertainment mecca to rival those in Roswell and Alpharetta.
Jonesboro leaders are in the midst of creating the Broad Street Project, a $7.8 million plan that calls for a highly-sought-after art, entertainment, and fine dining gathering spot.
Restaurant Began in a Food Truck
Cole and Clayton clicked during Jonesboro’s Food Truck Wednesdays, a weekly event where the Clark Atlanta University alumna introduced her off-beat-yet-fit fare to the community last year.
“Lines were stretching out of sight. I’d never seen anything like it,” recalled Jonesboro Mayor Joy Day. “We got to know Pinky that way. People were just crazy about her. She loved the atmosphere.”
A tour of the city sold Cole on the site for her second restaurant.
Last Saturday, Jonesboro residents Amanda Davis and Shaneka Riley ventured out to the opening intent on getting their vegan fix. Both have been to the Atlanta restaurant and welcomed the new addition to the southside.
“We’re trying to support another black sister,” Davis said.
WANT TO GO?
Slutty Vegan is located at 164 N. McDonough St., in Jonesboro. It will be open Tuesday through Friday from noon to 10 p.m. and Saturday from noon to midnight. While the restaurant is dine-in, it is only taking walkup orders right now due to the pandemic.
Pictured Above: Long lines await being served at Slutty Vegan’s grand opening. Photo by Brandon Franklin.