If you want to have a good time on the weekend, most cities offer a range of places that provide top-tier vibes. But if you talk to the locals, you’d be sure to discover the spots beyond what a typical Google search can provide.
If you find yourself in Atlanta, GA, rapper 2 Chainz’s Esco Restaurant and Tapas will likely be on that list created by local patrons. Now, those outside the Atlanta Metropolitan Area will get a taste of Esco as a part of PEPSI® Dig In, the brand’s platform designed to “drive access, business growth, and awareness to Black-owned restaurants.”
Pepsi Dig In will host the residency program in Las Vegas, NV, beginning Sept. 30. It is designed to allow tourists and locals to experience the best of the selected Black-owned restaurants, including exclusive dishes made for the residency.
Six restaurants were chosen for the Restaurant Royalty Residency program. Although 2 Chainz has significant brand awareness outside his restaurant business, the Atlanta-based rapper does not take the opportunity lightly.
“Pepsi Dig In has an initiative that they’re helping black restaurants out and also introducing foodies to,” 2 Chainz said exclusively to AFROTECH. “Obviously, Vegas is a huge tourist spot that is actually introducing foodies to black cuisines that they may not try or have accessibility to. So they got six restaurants. I was one of them, and I’m very honored to be that.”
2 Chainz and the other five restaurateurs were selected through nominations from a group of foodies. After the votes were tallied, it was announced that Cranky Granny’s Sweet Rolls (Pflugerville, TX); Taylor’s Tacos (Chicago, IL); Blk Swan (Baltimore, MD); LoLo’s on The Water (New York, NY); and Bridgetown Roti (Los Angeles, CA) would join Esco Restaurant & Tapas to kick off this year’s residency program.
Each restaurant will showcase a limited-edition menu item, exclusively available for three or four weeks at Libertine Social at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino as well as Public House at Luxor Hotel and Casino. The residency will also offer two new cocktails: one inspired by 2 Chainz featuring STARRY® soda and another with Pepsi® Zero Sugar.
“For me, it was our blackened salmon alfredo,” 2 Chainz shared with AFROTECH when referring to the menu item he wanted to spotlight. “I eat it once or twice a week. But it’s so good, and it’s something that I wanted to share with people who hadn’t had it or tried it or something like that. We have an array of items on our list, but just something that I knew would stand up.”
The residency program is a part of the larger Pepsi Dig In initiative. Now in its second year, the residency also matches MGM Resorts’ commitment to greater inclusion, which it works to do by building a diverse culture for employees, guests, community partners, and stakeholders.
“MGM Resorts continues to deepen our commitment to social impact by focusing on the intersection of culinary excellence and diverse representation,” Tony Gladney, MGM Resorts International vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, said in the news release. “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.”
And 2 Chainz knows the powerful impact a brand like Pepsi can have on a business, especially as it relates to advancing the work of Black entrepreneurs.
“It’s kind of like putting your music on a certain streaming platform,” 2 Chainz told AFROTECH. “You know what I’m saying? Now, more people have access to it, and I think that’s what Pepsi Dig In is doing with this initiative. They’re being an early adopter of highlighting something in our community. I think it’s a great way of giving back from that perspective.”