Pinky Cole
The woman, Pinky Cole, has brown skin and dyed red locs and is smiling at the camera.
Cole on Sister Circle in December 2018
Aisha Cole

(1987-12-08) December 8, 1987 (age 36)
Baltimore, Maryland
Known forSlutty Vegan restaurant

Aisha "Pinky" Cole (born December 8, 1987)[1] is an American restaurateur. She is the owner and operator of Slutty Vegan, a plant-based burger restaurant chain in Atlanta, Georgia.[1] In 2023, she was added to the Time magazine 100 Next list, recognizing individuals with an outsized influence on American culture.[2][3]

Early life and education

Cole was born and raised in Baltimore.[4] Her parents are Jamaican immigrants and Rastafarians;[5] her mother Ichelle Cole is a musician in the reggae group Strykers' Posse and follows the traditional Rastafarian vegetarian diet. Her mother is a wealth adviser at PNC Bank[1][6] Her father served prison time for the first 20 years of her life and was then deported to Jamaica.[1][7] Cole became a vegetarian in 2007, and a vegan in 2014.[1][8]

Cole received her bachelor's degree from Clark Atlanta University.[9][10] She was elected “Miss Clark Atlanta” in 2008 and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.[11] After college, Cole moved first to Los Angeles to become an actress, and then to New York to work in television production.[1][12]


In 2010, she moved to Los Angeles and worked as a producer on the reality show Judge Karen’s Court.[6]

Her first restaurant, Pinky’s Jamaican and American Restaurant, operated in Harlem for two years, until she shuttered it in 2016 after a grease fire.[1][4] Cole moved back to Atlanta and worked as a casting director for programs such as Iyanla: Fix My Life.[1][10]

Slutty Vegan

In July 2018, Cole sold her first vegan burgers through delivery apps[13] and opened the Slutty Vegan food truck in September of that year.[1] In January 2019, she opened the first Slutty Vegan brick-and-mortar restaurant in the Westview neighborhood of Atlanta.[1] In 2023, Slutty Vegan had 11 locations in Georgia, New York City, Birmingham, Ala., and Dallas.[6]

Cole was inspired to create the vegan restaurant Slutty Vegan due to her own cravings for vegan junk food.[10] All of Slutty Vegan's products are titled with some form of sexual connotation, including "One Night Stand," "Fussy Hussy," "Sloppy Toppy," and "Chick'N Head".[14]

In 2023, when Time magazine named her to its 100 Next list, Danny Meyer wrote that "Her myriad fans adore her sassy, sexy attitude that has not only reinvented the way people think about a vegan restaurant, but also turned classic roadside burger fare into a rollicking party."[15]


In November 2022, Cole began a five-city tour to promote her new cookbook, Eat Plants, B*tch: 91 Vegan Recipes That Will Blow Your Meat-Loving Mind.[16] The book was published by Simon & Schuster. Oprah Daily published four recipes from the book in December 2022.[17] BET said the cookbook has "food combinations that will make you forget about meat altogether."[18] VegNews listed it as one of the "Top 100 Vegan Cookbooks of All Time" in 2024.[19]

Personal life

Cole met entrepreneur Derrick Hayes in 2020. The couple became engaged on July 2, 2022, and married on June 10, 2023 at The St. Regis Hotel in Atlanta. The ceremony was covered by the New York Times.[6] Hayes is the owner of Big Dave's Cheesesteaks, a non-vegan cheesesteak restaurant based in Atlanta.[20] They have a daughter, D'Ella (born 2021), and son, Derrick Jr. (born 2022). Hayes has two daughters from a previous relationship, Dallas and Denver. At their 2023 wedding, the couple announced Cole was pregnant and they are expecting a third child, a boy, in December.[21]


Cole and fellow alumna Stacy Lee paid the tuition of 30 Clark Atlanta University seniors in September 2019.[22][23]

In May 2022, Cole gifted an LLC to every graduating student at the Clark Atlanta University commencement ceremony.[24][25]

Cole runs her own philanthropic organization, The Pinky Cole Foundation, which focuses on providing financial support and educational programs for children of color.[26]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Severson, Kim (July 1, 2019). "A Naughty Name, a Virtuous Menu and a Line Down the Block". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  2. ^ Boyce, Hunter. "Slutty Vegan's Pinky Cole makes TIME 100 Next list". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. ISSN 1539-7459. Retrieved September 13, 2023.
  3. ^ "How We Chose the 2023 TIME100 Next". Time. September 13, 2023. Retrieved September 13, 2023.
  4. ^ a b Solomon, Micah. "The Slutty Vegan: Young, African American Founder Pinky Cole's Wild Success With Playful Vegan Food". Forbes. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  5. ^ Grant, Jasmine (July 3, 2019). "Going Green: Slutty Vegan Founder Pinky Cole Is On A Mission To Get Us Eating Cleaner". Essence. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d Gorce, Tammy La (June 14, 2023). "A Vegan Restaurateur and a Meat Connoisseur Find 'No Ordinary Love'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 17, 2023.
  7. ^ "Black-owned vegan restaurants are spicing up Southern cuisine". February 11, 2020. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  8. ^ Shigley, Debra (March 14, 2019). "How Pinky Cole used Instagram to make Slutty Vegan's burgers a viral hit IRL". Atlanta Magazine. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  9. ^ "Slutty Vegan Founder Pinky Cole Dishes on Success of Viral Eatery, Celeb Customers and How She Hit It Big". Atlanta Black Star. January 14, 2020. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c France, Lisa Respers (August 6, 2019). "Slutty Vegan restaurant a plant-based burger sensation". CNN. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  11. ^ "Pinky Cole's 'Slutty Vegan' is vegan food meat eaters can love | The Atlanta Voice". The Atlanta Voice | Atlanta GA News. January 10, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  12. ^ "How This Newbie Restauranteur Started a Vegan Revolution in Atlanta". Essence. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  13. ^ Brittany Shivers (July 4, 2022). "Q&A: Pinky Cole discusses Slutty Vegan in Athens". The Red & Black.
  14. ^ "Slutty Vegan | Best Vegan Restaurant in Atlanta, GA | Black Owned". The Slutty Vegan Atlanta. Retrieved January 21, 2022.
  15. ^ "2023 TIME100 Next: Pinky Cole". Time. September 13, 2023. Retrieved September 13, 2023.
  16. ^ "Slutty Vegan CEO Talks New Cookbook, Plans to Go Global". US News. November 14, 2022.
  17. ^ "4 Recipes So Delicious, You Won't Even Know They're Vegan". Oprah Daily. December 6, 2022. Retrieved June 17, 2023.
  18. ^ "Slutty Vegan Founder New Cookbook 'Eat Plants B*tch' Will Make You Forget About Meat". BET. Retrieved June 17, 2023.
  19. ^ Pointing, Charlotte (January 10, 2024). "The Top 100 Vegan Cookbooks of All Time". VegNews. Retrieved January 16, 2024.
  20. ^ Ogunsola, Jennifer (January 18, 2022). "Pinky Cole And Derrick Hayes Are Hot In The Kitchen On ESSENCE Jan/Feb Cover". Essence. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  21. ^ Newmark, Avery. "Atlanta food power couple welcome first baby". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  22. ^ Najja Parker, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Slutty Vegan owner helps pay tuition of 30 Clark Atlanta students". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  23. ^ "Slutty Vegan founder helps Clark Atlanta student on verge of dropping out over tuition costs". September 8, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  24. ^ "Atlanta Restaurateur Gifts Graduates LLCS at Clark Atlanta University Commencement". May 16, 2022.
  25. ^ "Slutty Vegan founder Pinky Cole gifts LLC to every member of Clark Atlanta graduating class". May 14, 2022.
  26. ^ "About the Pinky Cole Foundation". The Pinky Foundation.