ATLANTA — A pair of Atlanta restaurateurs are gracing the cover of the latest issue of Essence Magazine.
Pinky Cole is the owner of a popular Atlanta vegan restaurant Slutty Vegan. The chain now has three locations and a plant-based bar at Ponce City Market, Bar Vegan. She's sharing the cover with her partner Derrick Hayes of Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks. The West Philadelphia native opened the cheesesteak venture in 2014, which has since blossomed to a bustling location in downtown Atlanta and a pending location in Doraville.
In an Instagram post, the magazine said Cole and Hayes are the first restaurateurs to make Essence's cover. It's part of a new special edition, highlighting Black couples who "bet on love and business."
Last year, Cole was named on the national industry power list for her work in the City of Atlanta, having an impact now, and setting up for future growth. After opening two new Slutty Vegan locations in 2020, she helped struggling businesses pay their rent during the pandemic and provide financial support for the family of Rayshard Brooks as part of efforts with her foundation.
Slutty Vegan has even gained notoriety from celebrities. Oscar award-winning actress Viola Davis told Essence she loves the restaurant's plant-based burgers and that she became one of Cole's biggest fans after booking the food truck while on set.
"It’s amazing how people come to life when they are cared for, when they’re -literally thought about in any way—their health, their joy, their comfort. And perhaps the secret sauce to her company, other than absolutely awesome food, is that she cares about her people," Davis told Essence.
Hayes's Big Dave's Cheesesteaks has had its own famous fans, like Lena Waithe, Migos and Meek Mill.
While both Cole and Hayes have their own restaurant ventures, they have also initiated a joint concept called Dinkies. The vegan Philly Cheesesteak enterprise is a play on both of their first names, Derrick and Pinky, and it's located inside Bar Vegan.
In the magazine article written by Essence's Jennifer Ogunsola, the pair touches on their life as parents, their quests and roads to success, as well as their decision to keep their relationship private among other topics.
"Meet the millionaires next door making power moves to push the community forward," the post reads.