Pepsi Dig In, a purpose-driven platform designed to drive access, business acceleration and awareness for Black-owned restaurants, announces itd first ever Restaurant Royalty Residency program bringing signature dishes from Black-owned restaurants across the United States to one of the country’s largest culinary destinations: Las Vegas. The program aims to celebrate Black-owned restaurants and drive national awareness to the next generation of Black restaurant industry leaders.
Following the launch of the Pepsi Dig In Restaurant Royalty initiative in May, which encouraged consumers to share and nominate their favorite Black-owned restaurants, chefs from some of the most-beloved restaurants will each preside over a four-week residency at Luxor’s Public House and Mandalay Bay’s Libertine Social to curate limited-edition menu items. The collaboration between Pepsi Dig In and MGM Resorts International was fostered by a shared commitment to build an inclusive and diverse culture for employees, guests, community partners and stakeholders.
To kickoff, Pepsi Dig In ambassador and James Beard Award-winning Chef JJ Johnson of New York City’s FIELDTRIP will bring his signature Braised Oxtails with jollof rice to Vegas, inspired by his popular made-to-order rice bowl concept informed by the Caribbean flavors of his upbringing. Available starting October 9th, fans have until November 5th to try Chef JJ’s custom creation along with specialty cocktails by MGM Resorts. On November 6th, Chef JJ will turn the kitchen over to renowned rapper and entrepreneur, Bun B of Houston-based restaurant Trill Burgers, followed by Slim & Husky’s, FoodChasers’ Kitchen, and Trap Kitchen.
“It’s an honor to usher in Pepsi Dig In’s Restaurant Royalty Residency and continue to support a platform that’s dedicated to increasing visibility of the Black culinary community,” says Chef JJ Johnson. “Black restaurateurs and chefs often don’t have access to opportunities to help grow their businesses and move the needle forward. That’s why I’m passionate about supporting Pepsi Dig In and programs like this MGM residency.”
The Restaurant Royalty Residency featured at Mandalay Bay’s Libertine Social and Luxor’s Public House will showcase culinary gems from across the country including:
FIELDTRIP (New York, NY), Chef and Founder JJ Johnson – Oct. 9 to Nov.5, 2022
A fast-casual dining experience that celebrates culture through the shared experience of rice, bringing hand cut braised oxtails in a cinnamon scented broth with jollof rice, 5-hour cooked black beans, “Not Your Mama’s” collard greens, and more
Trill Burgers (Houston, TX), Founder Bun B – Nov. 6 to Dec. 3, 2022
This pop-up concept received national acclaim, and even longer lines, for one of the “Best Burgers in the United States.” Now Vegas fans can try the Trill House Burger, inspired by the creators of the OG Trill Burger, a special ground blend made from high-quality steak cuts fans can only get at MGM
Slim and Husky’s (Nashville, TN), Co-Founders Clint Gray, Derrick Moore, and EJ Reed – Dec. 4 to Dec. 31, 2022
A fast casual, artisan pizza shop with a love for hip hop, R&B and art – and a memorable dessert – serving the Cinnamon Roll Duo: Sticky Fingaz with a whiskey sauce & Cookie Monster with peanut butter, white chocolate chips and cookie pieces
FoodChasers’ Kitchen (Elkins Park, PA), Owners and Chefs, Maya and Kala Johnstone – Jan. 1 to Jan. 28, 2023
A modern twist on traditional, homemade Southern cuisine, serving some of the best Shrimp and Grits around with their own secret spin on the classic dish that was created following their travels across the South
Trap Kitchen (Los Angeles, CA), Owners and Chefs Malachi “Spank” Jenkins, Roberto “News” Smith and Eddie “Mikey” Bynum – Jan. 29 to Feb. 25, 2023
The ultimate underground soul food experience, bringing their one-of-a-kind Trap Kitchen Pineapple Bowl served in half of a pineapple filled with steak, shrimp, jasmine rice, and unique house made sauces for added flavor
The residency ladders back to the larger Pepsi Dig In program, now in its sophomore year. The program is designed to cast a spotlight on the unique barriers Black restaurateurs face and help them scale their businesses by providing access to a variety of resources, mentorship and training made possible by PepsiCo.
“The intense consumer passion in response to our Restaurant Royalty nomination program is the type of groundswell action that Pepsi Dig In was created to ignite for Black-owned businesses,” says Scott Finlow, CMO of PepsiCo Global Foodservice. “Bringing in partners, like the world-renowned MGM Resorts, is how we leverage our platform to amplify these fan-favorite establishments. Las Vegas is a city for revelers and foodies alike and serves as the perfect stage to spotlight talented Black restaurateurs and chefs, highlight their food, and grow their audiences.”
Fans are encouraged to visit Mandalay Bay and Luxor hotels in Las Vegas through February to take part in Pepsi Dig In’s exclusive dining experience. Individuals can continue to nominate their favorite Black-owned restaurants for a chance to win $1,000.
“MGM Resorts is committed to creating pathways that amplify the voices of African Americans and other diverse groups in our community and around the world,” says MGM Resorts Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Tony Gladney. “The Pepsi Dig In initiative combined with our company’s renowned culinary program provides the ideal platform to continue leading with a purpose. By creating exceptional guest experiences with this initiative we also provide opportunity for talented Black-owned restaurants to shine on a worldwide stage. We can’t wait to welcome the chef teams to our MGM family and for Las Vegas fans and foodies to get a taste of their creativity and passion.”