This Atlanta Restaurant Is So Good, It Apparently Made Shaq Go Vegan

published May 5, 2022
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Shaquille O'Neal attends Shaq’s Fun House presented by FTX at Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on February 11, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Credit: Getty Images/ Frazer Harrison / Staff

Celebrities going vegan or adopting a plant-forward diet is de rigueur these days. But I’ve got to admit, I never saw the latest veg-head convert coming. According to a report on TMZ, Shaq is trying to give up meat. 

On a recent episode of Urban Eats & Treats, the 7’1” basketball celeb told comedian Rip Michaels that he was inspired by the Atlanta-based restaurant Slutty Vegan. “I like cheeseburgers, right. But the way she cooks it, I can eat healthy, but still feel like I’m eating bad,” Shaq explained. 

The “she” is Pinky Cole, the founder and CEO at Slutty Vegan (and sister brand Bar Vegan). Cole — a former producer for the hit show Maury — began selling plant-based burgers from her Instagram account in 2018. Slutty Vegan now encompasses a food truck, shelved items at select Target locations, and four SV locations in Georgia — with plenty more to come.

And let’s be clear: When Shaq says he feels like he’s “eating bad,” he’s referencing the indulgent, craveable flavors, and Instagram-worthy sky-high burger concoctions that look unhealthy, but are lower in saturated fat, thanks to Cole’s secret recipes. (She uses Impossible plant-based meat for Slutty Vegan’s burgers). 

The sandwiches are all cheekily named, including the One Night Stand (vegan bacon, vegan cheese, and caramelized onions), the Ménage à Trois (all that, plus vegan shrimp), and the PLT (jerk plantains, lettuce, and tomato on a Hawaiian bun). 

On Urban Eats & Treats, Shaq explained that he usually gravitates toward chicken salad, steak, and fish, but Cole’s menu brings a little fun into his eat-right, perform-well routine. I’ve got to admit I’m intrigued by Slutty Vegan’s menu — I am eager to get my hands on the NOLA-style fried pickles … whether they’re a better-for-you option or not. 

Have you been to Slutty Vegan? What’s the best thing on the menu?