Shake Shack on 125th Street (307619)
Credit: Eileen Barett photo

First thing Wednesday morning, I scanned my inbox to find an email with the subject, “Slutty Shack Harlem while supplies last.” It is not often I see the word “slut” come across my inbox so I was intrigued.

As it turns out, Shake Shack’s 125th Street location was holding a one-day-only, limited quantity collaboration with the Atlanta based restaurant chain Slutty Vegan. This email was then followed by a text from my editor asking me to cover a story. I said “yes,” not knowing that it involved trying out the very burger that piqued my interest moments earlier, the Slutty Shack.

Thankfully, I got my hands on one of the last two available Slutty Shack burgers. The burger features a Shake Shack veggie patty packed with grains, greens, and herbs. It is topped with Slutty Vegan chef Pinky Cole’s secret Slut Dust, lemon ginger kale, caramelized onions, vegan ranch, and vegan mayo on a signature toasted Hawaiian bun.

Unlike any other vegan burger that I’ve tried, the Slutty Shack is multifaceted. It’s loaded with umami (aka the fifth flavor after sweet, sour, salt, and bitter), nutty and savory, with a hint of sweetness.

This food collaboration had been in the works for several months but was delayed due to COVID-19. It is a part of Shake Shack’s “Now Serving” series, a group of collaborations with well-known chefs and restaurateurs. A portion of proceeds from each series benefits local nonprofits and the restaurant community. Proceeds from the Slutty Shack will be donated to ROAR, a community of hospitality leaders advocating for New York City’s independent restaurant industry.

Judging from the crowd and the club-like atmosphere at Shake Shack on Wednesday afternoon, I was not the only person who enjoyed this limited partnership. They sold out quickly and to the dismay of arriving patrons.

This is not the first time Shake Shack has partnered with Slutty Vegan. Previously, they had a very successful collaboration at one of their Atlanta locations. While this was their first time at the Shack in Harlem, Chef Pinky Cole is no stranger to the neighborhood. She opened her first restaurant here back in 2014!

Like the subject of my aforementioned email, the sassy name grabs your attention. Right?! “If I would have named it Pinky’s Vegan, I probably wouldn’t have had lines out the door,” said Chef Cole. But do not be mistaken, it is the bold flavors in her burgers that will have you going back for more.

Let’s hope this isn’t the last we’ll see of the Slutty Vegan in Harlem. I am looking forward to your next visit.

Eileen Barett is a chef, nutrition educator, culinary instructor, flavor consultant and the Executive Chef at Aromas Boutique bakery. Visit her at, @AromasBakery on Instagram, Chef Eileen on YouTube.

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Kysha Harris, @SCHOPnyc, Food Editor