Derrick Hayes – CEO and Founder of Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks – is taking his award-winning, Philly-inspired cheesesteak empire to the Queen City with its first out-of-state location set to open in Charlotte, North Carolina this winter.

Located in the Town Center Plaza at 8548 University City Blvd., the 2,100-square-foot build-out will serve as the brand’s fifth brick-and-mortar location. Foundry Commercial served as the landlord representative for the transaction. The Charlotte location of Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks follows its Peach State predecessors in downtown Atlanta, Doraville, Georgia, Forest Park, Georgia and a forthcoming location in Lawrenceville, Georgia, along with multiple units within Atlanta’s famed Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Ranked among the “Top 10 Best Sandwiches” in the world by World Food Champions, Big Dave’s will be open for lunch and dinner and available for counter-service dine-in, patio dining and takeout. 

In addition to its ever-expanding line-up of restaurants, the brand also operates a food truck that is expected to host pop-ups near its new Charlotte location leading up to the store’s opening, serving up tastes of the concept’s menu all inspired by Derrick’s hometown of Philly. 

“It’s a really big step for us to expand outside of Georgia for the first time,” says Hayes. “Charlotte is booming right now, and we’re excited and honored that Big Dave’s gets to be a part of the community. Queen City – get ready to have your mind blown.”

Serving up phenomenal flavors and tastes straight from West Philly, Big Dave’s offers a menu selection of mouth-watering beef, chicken and salmon cheesesteaks – each masterfully flavor-bombed with an overflow of melt-in-your-mouth toppings and sandwiched between a traditional Amoroso roll – loaded fries smothered with favorite cheesesteak fixings, hand-rolled beef, chicken and salmon Cheesesteak Egg Rolls, a selection of Philly-inspired salads and other melty, larger-than-life flavors for all to enjoy. Generating daily lines around the block, Big Dave’s has become one of the Southeast’s most-loved eateries and an iconic mainstay of the greater Atlanta community.

Part of his road to success, Derrick found himself with a second chance after having a brush with the law as a young man. Vowing to get back on course and honor the memory of his late father (Dave), Derrick worked against the odds to build his dream from the ground up. After many spaces declined his lease applications, he eventually found a 700-square-foot space in a Dunwoody, Ga gas station to open his first sandwich shop. Following the build-out and after months of withstanding little-to-no customer foot traffic, rapper, actress & fellow Philadelphia native Eve stumbled into the shop while in town for a project, posted a photo on social media, and the rest was history.

As an extension of his community commitment, Derrick established the David & Derrick Hayes Foundation – a foundation honoring his father in support of early detection and cancer research, the David & Derrick Hayes College Fund that provides quarterly funding to deserving students with a 3.0 GPA or higher, and Square 1: The Liife Experience – a program Derrick founded with his wife Pinky Cole, founder of the wildly popular, plant-based burger chain Slutty Vegan, with an initiative to provide 25,000 Black men across the nation with full access and awareness to life insurance to support their health and generate generational wealth within the Black community.

A self-made entrepreneur, restaurateur and philanthropist, Derrick has been nationally recognized by Forbes, Good Morning America, Black Enterprise, RevoltTV, People Magazine, Red Table Talk and many more. In 2021 he was named to the Forbes Next 1000 list, and even graced the cover of Essence Magazine with Pinky Cole.

In 2022, Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks expanded into retail with the launch of the brand’s new product venture, Big Dave’s All Purpose Spice – a smoky seasoning salt with a hint of sweetness. Available exclusively at all Big Dave’s locations and via the company’s online store for nationwide shipping, the recipe is thoughtfully blended to universally enhance dishes like burgers, chicken, ribs, steaks, vegetables, fish and more.

Emerging Concepts, Fast Casual, News