Bar Vegan, from Slutty Vegan founder Pinky Cole, opens some time next year at Ponce City Market, the Atlanta Business Chronicle first reported. The bar and restaurant takes over the space formerly occupied by the Mercury, which closed in 2019 after three years on the second floor of the central food hall.
A representative for Cole tells Eater the bar will serve vegan drinks, including beer, wine, and liquor, and “customer favorites” from Cole’s wildly popular meat-free burger restaurant Slutty Vegan, but declined to provide any further details. While presenting the case for an alcohol license for the bar during a November 9 neighborhood planning unit meeting, Slutty Vegan business manager Angel Barnwell told those in attendance Bar Vegan will “have a very traditional Slutty Vegan kind of feel, with a bar.”
Cole founded Slutty Vegan as a delivery service in 2018, with people contacting her via Instagram to place orders for provocatively named vegan burgers like the One Night Stand and Ménage à Trois. She quickly amassed a large following, eventually leading to a food truck and late night pop-ups around Atlanta University Center — home to Spelman, Morehouse, and Clark Atlanta University (Cole’s alma mater.) Cole opened her first restaurant in the Westview neighborhood of Atlanta in January 2019.
A second Slutty Vegan opened this summer in Jonesboro, Georgia, followed by a third location on Edgewood Avenue in the Old Fourth Ward last month. Cole is currently working on opening her fourth Slutty Vegan restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama.
The news of Bar Vegan’s impending opening at the market comes after Ponce City Market owner Jamestown announced a 500,000-square-foot expansion of the property to include a 400-unit tower and 100,000-square-foot building featuring office, retail, and restaurant space. Part of the expansion also includes new restaurant kiosks and a bar at Ponce City Market’s central food hall.
Earlier this fall, billion-dollar salad chain Sweetgreen announced plans to expand to Atlanta with at least two new locations opening next year. Sweetgreen, based in Los Angeles, will open restaurants slinging its vast array of salad and grain bowls and celebrity chef-collaborative dishes at Ponce City Market and Lenox Square Mall. The latter takes over the former ATL Taco space at the Buckhead mall.
One notable restaurant closure at Ponce City Market came in June when celebrity chef Jonathan Waxman’s Italian restaurant Brezza Cucina closed after nearly five years there. At the time of the closure, executive chef Andrew Cacioppo told Eater the owners were in the midst of finalizing plans to reopen elsewhere in Atlanta. The restaurant is now set to replace Indigo Road Hospitality-backed Italian restaurant Donetto at the Stockyards complex on Brady Avenue.