A crowd of hundreds gathered at Sage Restaurant and Lounge in Uptown on Sunday. The line wrapped around three sides of the building. Lawn chairs and umbrellas littered the sidewalk and parking lot, offering comfort and sun protection. Some people sold cold beverages to help keep those in line hydrated in the heat. People at the front of the line said they had been there since 10:30 a.m. — it was almost 3 p.m.
No, they weren’t in line for a concert, special appearance, new iPhone or sneaker release.They were waiting to try a vegan burger sandwich with a provocative name.
Slutty Vegan, a trendy vegan burger food truck and restaurant that has become all the rave in Atlanta, made its way to Charlotte for The Secret and the Sauce Tour. As part of the tour, Slutty Vegan held a pop-up event so local residents can get “sluttified.”
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The pop-up event, originally scheduled to take place at the Embassy Suites Hotel on South Tryon Street near Billy Graham Parkway, moved to Sage due to the overwhelming response, according to a post on Slutty Vegan’s Instagram page.
I heard stories about people waiting outside hours before the Atlanta restaurant would open. I arrived about 40 minutes before the event started, and I waited six hours to get my meal — yes, six hours.
Slutty Vegan was only offering three items off its menu. Your grandma might clutch her pearls at the names of these sandwiches, and you probably don’t want the kiddos repeating these at school.
- Fussy Hussy — Impossible Burger patty loaded with pickle, vegan cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, and slutty sauce on a vegan Hawaiian bun
- Sloppy Toppy — Impossible Burger patty loaded with jalapeños, vegan cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, and slutty sauce on a vegan Hawaiian bun
- Heaux Boy — Vegan shrimp tossed in a New Orleans style batter, loaded with lettuce, tomato, pickle, vegan cheese, and slutty sauce on a vegan Hawaiian bun.
I transitioned to a plant-based diet about a year and a half ago. I occasionally cook with Impossible meat, so I chose the Heaux Boy with fries. It was as good as advertised, but personally, I would not wait in line that long for a meal again. In Slutty Vegan’s defense, they can’t predict how early people will stand in line. Also, they had to change location just a few hours before the event started.
Still, there simply needs to be a more efficient system, and it looks like that’s something they will need to figure out soon. According to Slutty Vegan’s Instagram account, they are potentially bringing a location to Charlotte.
I’m confident that a large number of the patrons on Sunday don’t eat a plant-based diet. They came out to see if Slutty Vegan lived up to the hype, and that’s okay. I’m all for Black folks at least trying healthier food options, even if it’s superficial. I think the possibility to bring a Black-owned business in high demand to Charlotte is great too. I hope we see more.
I also hope that people who enjoyed Slutty Vegan check out the other plant-based friendly restaurants and chefs already in town. Some good stuff has been happening with the Black culinary and beverage scene in Charlotte. We don’t need to wait for out-of-town pop-up shops to wrap lines around buildings.
Kallan Louis is a writer and consultant for qcitymetro.com. He does a lot, but never feels like he’s doing enough. His life can be described as a Venn Diagram: News media, Black culture and sports. He’s always on TV, but rarely seen.