Baltimore native Pinky Cole, who has created a nationwide vegan empire, will finally bring her plant-based concepts back to her hometown, where she will add a new location of her Slutty Vegan restaurant chain to Baltimore Peninsula next year.
The East Baltimore native, who cleverly said “I’m home” at a press conference announcing the news, has expanded her restaurants across the country to cities including Atlanta, Dallas, Birmingham, and Harlem. And in 2024, Baltimore is up next.
The entrepreneur will additionally join forces with the Baltimore Peninsula development team as a partner in the future of the Rye Street Market.
The development team includes MAG Partners and Macfarlane Partners; as well as investments from Under Armour founder Kevin Plank; Sagamore Ventures investment firm; and Goldman Sachs Asset Management Urban Investment Group.
“This is a project that’s intention is to deliver for communities, to bring impact and to lift up this entire city,” says developing partner MaryAnne Gilmartin. “Pinky and we have a partnership in this building, and it’s not about real estate. It is about real people delivering real impact and bringing real community.”
Slutty Vegan, the popular burger joint that serves up plant-based burgers, “chick’n” sandwiches, hearty vegan chili and vegan hot dogs, will sit next door to Bar Vegan, a full-service restaurant serving plant-based cuisine and hand-crafted cocktails.
According to Mayor Brandon Scott, both Slutty Vegan and Bar Vegan concepts will be the first lease in the Rye Street Market. “Also, it will be yet another success story of the possibilities of women owned and minority owned businesses right here in Baltimore,” Scott said.
“I get to show the world how coming from humble beginnings can lead to million dollar dreams turned into reality,” Colle said of Slutty Vegan’s homecoming. “This collaboration, brought to life by the incredible KD McNair from my management team, marks a new chapter in my journey as an entrepreneur. I am looking forward to finally establishing my brands of Slutty Vegan and Bar Vegan in the city that raised me.”
At the age of 35, the entrepreneur has taken a mom-and-pop shop to $100 million-brand that continues to bolster economic expansion in urban communities.
“As Pinky’s restaurants add to the neighborhood’s allure and become one of Baltimore’s beloved dining destinations, they will add critical value to the area with the permanent job creation,” says Executive Chairman of Macfarlane Partners. Victor Macfarlane.
The development team, along with the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, said the new venture will bring more than 100 new jobs to the city.
Cole released her new book “I Hope You Fail” this month in which she tells her personal story of turning failure into triumph. “This ain’t no crab in a barrel story. There’s excess in the barrel,” she said.
The newly published author added, “As long as I continue to be the quintessential example of what Baltimore success looks like, it’s a win for everybody. Because when I win, we all win.”
Over the years Slutty Vegan hosted pop-up food trucks in the D.C. and Maryland area, including a sold-out pop-up at Whitehall Mill in March 2022. But this time next year, the concept will have a permanent home at the new Baltimore Peninsula.
Rye Street Market will also be the new home of the CFG Bank headquarters, the new Volo sporting venue, and other businesses.