Culinary royalty Pepsi Dig In is a powerful platform committed to uplifting, empowering, and showcasing Black-owned restaurants. The Restaurant Royalty Residency program returned to Las Vegas on September 30, promising a memorable experience where every bite becomes an exceptional moment when paired with Pepsi. Savoring exclusive dishes crafted by six new Black-owned restaurants from across the nation, made their debut at MGM Resorts International for the first time.
This platform has a breathtaking showcase of innovative cuisines and culinary brilliance in one of the country’s hottest culinary destinations. Featuring Esco Restaurant & Tapas run by the renowned multi-platinum, Grammy Award®-winning MC 2 Chainz, this year’s lineup promises an array of flavors and unique concepts that will literally tickle your tongue to no end.
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From 2 Chainz To Pepsi Zero Sugar: A Residency Beyond Food
Earlier this year, food enthusiasts were invited to nominate their favorite Black-owned restaurants as Restaurant Royalty, turning the spotlight on the most notable establishments across the nation. Subsequently, a lucky winner emerged, as Cranky Granny’s Sweet Rolls from Pflugerville, Texas, secured a spot alongside Esco Restaurant & Tapas at MGM Resorts International. Together, these culinary masters will serve their signature creations, crafting limited-edition menu items available exclusively for a limited period at Libertine Social at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and Public House at Luxor Hotel and Casino.
However, the experience doesn’t stop at flavors alone. Not only will your palate be treated to a variety of flavors, but the residency also introduces two exclusive cocktails, amplifying the creativity and partnership behind this event. One of these cocktails is inspired by 2 Chainz, featuring STARRY®, and the other features the invigorating taste of Pepsi® Zero Sugar.
“No matter your background, building and running a restaurant is a constant grind but that’s what makes the rewards, like this residency, worth it. Opportunities for this kind of exposure in Vegas can be life-changing for businesses. It’s great to see brands like Pepsi Dig In and MGM put the power of their platforms behind these talented Black entrepreneurs, and it’s a privilege to be among them,” said 2 Chainz.
The Pepsi Dig In Restaurant Royalty Residency, hosted at Mandalay Bay’s Libertine Social and Luxor’s Public House, kicked off on September 30 and will continue until February 6. This event presents delicious food from Black-owned restaurants nationwide, offering a tempting selection of flavors.
Esco Restaurant & Tapas, Co-Founders 2 Chainz and Mychel “Snoop” Dillard (Atlanta, GA) – Sept. 30 to Oct. 27, 2023
Esco Restaurant & Tapas, brought to you by 2 Chainz and Mychel “Snoop” Dillard. Hailing from Atlanta, this business transforms from a tasty restaurant by day into a vibrant lounge by night.
With locations sprinkled across the nation, it’s a celebrated spot for seafood and Southern cuisine. For a limited time in Vegas, food lovers enjoyed a cherished favorite of 2 Chainz: the Blackened Salmon Alfredo Pasta, a mouthwatering fusion of Cajun-seasoned fish and classic alfredo sauce. Additionally, fans had the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive cocktail created especially for this residency by 2 Chainz. That’s one way to keep the fans coming back for more!
Pepsi Dig In Winner: Cranky Granny’s Sweet Rolls
Cranky Granny’s Sweet Rolls, Owner Sianni Dean (Pflugerville, TX) – Sept. 30 to Oct. 27, 2023
Cranky Granny’s Sweet Rolls has claimed the top spot in the Pepsi Dig In Restaurant Royalty contest as the favored Black-owned eatery. They dished out their signature Churro Cinnamon Roll, adorned with a timeless cream cheese glaze, and a delightful drizzle of chocolate and caramel. To top it off, it’s crowned with luscious vanilla ice cream, billowy whipped cream, and a plump, juicy strawberry. It was the perfect bite to make cranky granny smile – and the rest of us too!
Taylor’s Tacos Introduces Extra-Juicy Chicken Taco
Taylor’s Tacos, Co-Owners Taylor and Maya Mason (Chicago, IL) – Oct. 28 to Nov. 24, 2023
Taylor’s Tacos, the king of authentic street taco craftsmanship, is about to blow you away with their Extra-Juicy Chicken Tacos. These flavor-packed delights feature succulent braised chicken thighs, a clandestine salsa that’ll excite your appetite, fresh cilantro, cheese, and a zesty squeeze of lime, all cozily tucked into crispy corn tortillas. That sounds so yummy!
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The descriptions of these foods are making me hungry.
Blk Swan’s Signature Seafood Risotto: A Fiery Experience With Pepsi Dig In
Blk Swan, Executive Chef and Co-Owner Saon Brice (Baltimore, MD) – Nov. 25 to Dec. 15, 2023
Blk Swan, renowned for its New American menu, is an unforgettable rendition of their signature seafood risotto. The juicy shrimp, plump scallops, Maryland’s finest jumbo lump crab, a touch of white wine, and the fiery kick of sambal. So if you’re looking to “spice” things up, Blk Swan is the place to go!
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Island-Inspired Appetizers At LoLo’s
LoLo’s on The Water, Executive Chef Raymond Mohan and Co-Owner Leticia Skai Young (New York, NY) – Dec. 16, 2023 to Jan. 12, 2024
LoLo’s on The Water drew inspiration from vibrant island flavors to craft an exquisite cuisine specific to their residency. The Island BBQ Beef Shank Platter is an appetizer that consists of BBQ beef shanks, coated in a luscious achiote glaze. This dish is accompanied by warm and fluffy Johnny Cakes, perfectly complemented by the sweet allure of honey-rum glazed plantains.
Curry Channa Doubles By A James Beard Finalist
Bridgetown Roti, Chef and Owner Rashida Holmes (Los Angeles, CA) – Jan. 13 to Feb. 6, 2024
The James Beard Award finalist is set to amaze you with a vegan meal straight from her Los Angeles Caribbean pop-up. Curry Channa Doubles is a dish that combines Trinidadian-bara bread, rich curry chickpeas, refreshing cucumber chutney, zesty lime, and a tamarind sauce. It’s so good, you’ll forget you’re vegan!
“Las Vegas provides a valuable culinary stage and unparalleled business opportunity for restaurateurs. In partnership with MGM Resorts International, the Pepsi Dig In Restaurant Royalty Residency Program is putting Black-owned restaurants and chefs in front of foodies from around the world,” said Scott Finlow, CMO of PepsiCo Global Foodservice.
MGM Resorts’ Commitment To Diversity And Culinary Excellence
Entering its second year, the residency program reconnects with the big Pepsi Dig In initiative. Therefore, this is a platform dedicated to finding and celebrating Black-owned eateries. However, it’s not just about food – Pepsi Dig In goes above and beyond. It offers resources, advice, and training to Black restaurateurs, all made possible through the support of PepsiCo.
This venture was built in harmony with MGM Resorts’ ongoing commitment to diversity and fairness. As a result, it’s part of their mission to create a rich and diverse environment for employees, guests, community partners, and others. In other words, it’s an experience that’s not just about sampling food but also about encouraging change and promoting a more diverse culture.
“MGM Resorts continues to deepen our commitment to social impact by focusing on the intersection of culinary excellence and diverse representation,” said Tony Gladney, MGM Resorts International Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “Together with Pepsi, we’re proving that delicious food can drive meaningful change, and we look forward to another year of extraordinary culinary experiences that celebrate diversity and spark meaningful conversations.”
Introducing Pepsi Dig In: Unleashing The Flavorful Revolution
The Pepsi Dig In initiative was developed to enhance access, fuel business growth, and highlight the vibrant world of Black-owned restaurants. There’s more to them than food; they’re about forging connections, fostering awareness, and creating change.
Pepsi Dig In serves up a delicious buffet of experiences. It’s your go-to guide to exploring, dining at, and supporting Black-owned restaurants. In the age of eating out, there are plenty of options available to you. You’ll experience all kinds of flavors, and with every bite, you’re participating in an inspiring cause.
With the power of PepsiCo and its key partners, they’re on a mission to create endless opportunities for Black-owned restaurants. It’s a flavor riot, and you’re right at the center of it.
Pepsi Dig In sprang to life in 2020 as part of PepsiCo’s Racial Equality Journey (REJ). Taking things a step further – they pledged $50 million to uplift Black-owned businesses over five years. It’s a piece of their larger REJ project, a $400 million investment to enhance representation within PepsiCo. In addition, Pepsi Dig In champions Black-owned enterprises, and paves the way for economic growth in the communities we love.
Written by Nikiya Biggs