By Amy Kim
When you step off of West Whitehall Street in Atlanta’s West End neighborhood, you leave the busy cityscape and enter an idyllic outdoor market. Called MET Atlanta, the lot boasts artisan shops, murals from local artists, and creative spaces, but the real eye-catcher is the shiny black truck parked in the center with a crowd of patrons circling around.
The truck is Wonderful Tasting Food, cleverly abbreviated WTF!. It’s Mark Sloan’s take on Americana dining, and it’s now one of the rising names in Atlanta’s vegan fast food scene, standing amongst area natives like Westview’s Slutty Vegan and the cannabis-themed GAS Food Truck. But, Sloan isn’t fazed by the growing competition. He’s more concerned with the act of communion that WTF! creates.
“I wasn’t afraid to introduce a concept that was different. [But] if you draw something, you want people to like it. It’s the same thing with cooking,” he says. The satisfaction part is no problem—that Saturday afternoon, the line stretched far across the lot. But, the seemingly simple fast-food operation is a journey years in the making.
After positive reception from an event in his home state of South Carolina five years ago, Sloan brought his project to his Atlanta residence. As WTF! grew in popularity, Sloan brought his business from his home kitchen to the Atlanta Food Truck Park to a temporary car wash lot in Kirkwood, constantly seeking areas that could serve more patrons. In 2018, Sloan took WTF! to a physical truck and has been operating there with his family ever since.
Even with WTF!’s successful social media presence—over 20,000 Instagram followers, Sloan is still humbled by each big step he takes. Wherever he goes, the community follows.
“Even at the grand opening, there was actually a line. It was 20, 30 people, maybe even more. I didn’t know how to work commercial equipment or anything like that. The first day was stressful.” Sloan has seemingly mastered operations since then, keeping up with his growing customer base. One thing, however, remains constant. A family friend takes orders from a fold-out table in front, the same serving stand from Sloan’s front lawn in WTF!’s first year, an homage to his original passion project.
But, even after all his commercial success with WTF!, Sloan’s mission remains with his commitment to veganism. He recalls the period he transitioned to a vegan lifestyle in 2016, joking that the “moment” occurred while eating scrambled eggs, which he suddenly “just felt really bad about.” Since then, Sloan has been experimenting with his definition of a “balanced diet” and now cites environmental and sustainability issues as the reason he keeps going.
“When I first became vegan, I didn’t think a food truck was possible,” he says, reflecting on the days before WTF!. “I was eating chickpeas and lentils and rice.”
Now, WTF! boasts an extensive menu of burgers, fried chicken, and loaded fries, all imagined by Sloan himself in his home kitchen, and he tells us there’s more in the works—all organic and natural, of course, he says. He wouldn’t tell exactly what his “magic ingredient” that makes his meatless products is, but the bright orange words written along the truck’s side just about sums it up.
“No soy. No eggs. No BS.”
Sloan hopes WTF! will be an easy first step for those exploring new plant-based diets, providing an avenue to enjoy staple street foods in a reimagined, sustainable way. At the core of WTF! is community, and Sloan makes sure to make his presence known, striking up a conversation with each customer coming up to the ordering window. Communion is what Sloan values most.
“[Food] brings people together,” he says. “It’s still surreal to see the people who come here, especially families.” Surely enough, as he finishes his sentence, a family of four makes their way across the MET lot to the truck, and Sloan stands to head back. He’s the one handing out each order, an act he plans to continue as WTF! follows on its path of exponential growth; he’s got a business-oriented vision, but he remains grounded by his family’s values of persistence and service.
WTF! is more than a dining experience—it’s a story of community, those innate and those created, and it’s here to stay.